In a decision yesterday, Judge Marrero concluded that claims by Korea’s Woori Bank against Merrill Lynch over a failed CDO investment were time-barred. Judge Marrero rejected Woori’s argument that it lacked sufficient information to bring suit before the publication of a report from the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (“FCIC”):
The FCIC Report did not infiltrate the deep depths of Mordor — or the deeper hard drives of Wall Street — to unearth any age old clandestine activities. Instead, the FCIC began with the large body of publicly available pre existing literature “developed by congressional committees, government agencies, academics, journalists, legal investigators, and many others” that had already exposed serious indiscretions relating to the crisis. From this vast publicly available library, it began to assemble a comprehensive analysis of the causes of the collapse of certain financial markets. FCIC Report at xii. In fact, many of the FCIC sources cited by Woori in its complaint merely rehash information published years earlier in articles or other publically available materials. . . . . Undoubtedly, every plaintiff would welcome an equivalent good fortune: the ability to mine hundreds of pages of material produced over a year and a half of investigations by a federally-appointed bipartisan commission officially condemning the targeted defendant for helping produce one of the largest financial fiascos in the history of the United States. However, as a review of this Court’s docket confirms, such a once-in-a-lifetime bounty is not a prerequisite to filing a civil action. Although lacking the luster of an official government seal of condemnation, the extensive inquiry conducted by the plaintiffs, investigators, academics, and journalists that preceded the publication of the FCIC Report contain a much more lucrative treasure chest of information about Woori’s specific allegations against Merrill Lynch than the FCIC Report itself.