WASHINGTON -- Wells Fargo formally challenged parts of a financial-crisis lawsuit that the Justice Department recently brought against it, saying a prior multi-bank $25 billion mortgage settlement already cleared the San Francisco-based bank of some liability.
The fourth largest U.S. bank asked a federal judge to rule that the U.S. violated the terms of the earlier settlement by filing its recent case.
The U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan sued Wells Fargo on Oct. 9 seeking damages and penalties for more than 10 years of alleged misconduct related to government-insured Federal Housing Administration loans.
But an earlier consent judgment already resolved liability involving the bank's compliance with FHA obligations, Wells Fargo said in its Thursday court filing.
In February, Wells Fargo and four other top banks agreed to $25 billion in penalties and relief to homeowners to resolve allegations about shoddy mortgage servicing practices. That settlement also addressed certain claims involving the bank's annual certifications about its FHA compliance, Wells Fargo said.
Through its action, the bank said it is seeking an order barring the government from pursuing certain claims included in the new lawsuit.
Wells Fargo said it is also seeking other relief to "compensate Wells Fargo for the injuries suffered as a result of the repetitive litigation" from the new U.S. lawsuit.
In the filing, lawyers for Wells Fargo said they had conferred with government attorneys, who said they would oppose the motion.
A spokeswoman for the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.