In the ongoing saga of New York State’s challenge to the U.S. Census question on citizenship (see our previous coverage here), Judge Furman has rejected the Department of Commerce’s 11th hour attempt to delay the trial in the case currently scheduled to begin on November 6.   Citing “the defendants’ own urgent need for finality,” Judge Furman found that the Department of Commerce failed to show any irreparable harm should the trial proceed as planned, noting that they had already “conced[ed], as a procedural matter, that a trial is appropriate” by electing not file a summary judgment motion, at the Court’s invitation, which could have argued that the case be decided on the administrative record without a trial.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent order preventing the deposition of Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross loomed large in Judge Furman’s decision:
Continue Reading Judge Furman: Census Trial Will Proceed Next Week Despite SCOTUS Order on Ross Deposition

Shortly before a nine-day bench trial was scheduled to start this morning, Major League Baseball settled an antitrust suit alleging it is anticompetitive for Major League Baseball broadcast out-of-market games only as part of a allegedly overpriced all-or-nothing packages.  As part of the settlement, MLB will offer reduced price packages for fans to stream out-of-market

The plaintiffs and Major League Baseball yesterday exchanged briefs in anticipation of a January 18 trial before Judge Scheindlin in a case alleging it is anticompetitive for Major League Baseball to divide the market for broadcasting games into various territories exclusive to the local teams, while allowing the broadcast of out-of-market games only as part of a allegedly overpriced all-or-nothing packages.  (A companion case relating to National Hockey League games was recently settled.)
Continue Reading Parties File Pretrial Briefs in Antitrust Challenge to Baseball’s “Territorial” Broadcast Structure

Following a bench trial, Judge Cote today issued a 361-page ruling in favor of FHFA (the conservator to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae) in a case accusing Nomura and RBS of misrepresenting the quality of mortgages underlying various securities.  There had been 16 similar cases before Judge against various banks, all of which settled except this one.  Judge Cote resolved various disputes between the parties as to how damages should be calculated, but did not specify the final judgment amount. She instead directed the FHFA, which had initially sought over $1 billion, to submit a proposed judgment following the formula in her opinion. The opinion begins:
Continue Reading After Bench Trial, Judge Cote Rules For FHFA in Case Against Nomura, RBS

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (or “FHFA,” as conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) sued 18 banks in 2011 for misrepresenting the quality of mortgage bonds. All but Nomura and RBS have settled, for a total of around $18 billion.  The trial against Nomura and RBS begins Monday before Judge Cote. It will be

In an opinion today, Judge Rakoff rejected motions to set aside a jury verdict in the so-called “Hustle” case, in which the government accused Countrywide (later acquired by Bank of America) and an officer named Rebecca Mairone of a scheme to defraud Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into buying faulty mortgages.  The jury had ruled against the defendants and Judge Rakoff then ordered damages of $1.3 billion (see our prior posts on the case here). The defendants sought to set aside the verdict by arguing “that the Government’s evidence did not establish that the HSSL loans were of lower quality than Fannie and Freddie could have reasonably expected, and therefore that they made no misrepresentations that were material,” but Judge Rakoff rejected the argument as “border[ing] on the frivolous”:
Continue Reading Judge Rakoff: Challenge to Countrywide “Hustle” Jury Verdict “Borders on the Frivolous”

In an opinion today, Judge Rakoff ordered Bank of America to pay $1.3 billion in the so-called “Hustle” case, in which a jury found that Countrywide (later acquired by Bank of America) and an officer named Rebecca Mairone engaged in a scheme to defraud Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into buying faulty mortgages. Judge Rakoff rejected Bank of America’s argument that the statute at issue, FIRREA, required the penalties to be calculated by reference to the “net” gains or loss resulting from the alleged conduct:
Continue Reading Judge Rakoff Orders Bank of America to Pay $1.3 Billion in “Hustle” Case

In opinion today announcing findings from a bench trial, Judge Pauley rejected claims that American Express, Citi and Discover colluded to add arbitration clauses barring class actions to their standard card agreements. He found that the defendants acted individually, not collusively:
Continue Reading In Bench Trial, Judge Pauley Finds That Credit Card Issuers Did Not Collude to Adopt Class Action Waivers in Card Agreements

Judge Kaplan issued a 485-page opinion this morning siding with Chevron in its long-running challenge to a $19 billion Ecuadorian judgment against it. From the introduction of the opinion:

[T]he Court finds that Donziger began his involvement in this controversy with a desire to improve conditions in the area in which his Ecuadorian clients live. To be sure, he sought also to do well for himself while doing good for others, but there was nothing wrong with that. In the end, however, he and the Ecuadorian lawyers he led corrupted the Lago Agrio case. They submitted fraudulent evidence. They coerced one judge, first to use a court-appointed, supposedly impartial, “global expert” to make an overall damages assessment and, then, to appoint to that important role a man whom Donziger hand-picked and paid to “totally play ball” with the LAPs. They then paid a Colorado consulting firm secretly to write all or most of the global expert’s report, falsely presented the report as the work of the court-appointed and supposedly impartial expert, and told half-truths or worse to U.S. courts in attempts to prevent exposure of that and other wrongdoing. Ultimately, the LAP team wrote the Lago Agrio court’s Judgment themselves and promised $500,000 to the Ecuadorian judge to rule in their favor and sign their judgment. If ever there were a case warranting equitable relief with respect to a judgment procured by fraud, this is it. . . . .


Continue Reading In Trial Win For Chevron, Judge Kaplan Tells Donziger: “It is time to face the facts”