Friday, December 30, 2011

Jurist tough on settling parties in mortgage crisis litigation

Last month, the Securities and Exchange Commission had to defend their proposed settlements to U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff, who according to the Wall St. Journal is "No Mr. Nice Guy." The SEC apparently considers factors including losses suffered by investors as a result of the alleged wrongdoing in weighing how much the company benefited from the behavior and whether they will be hurt by a penalty. Judge Rakoff was skeptical why Citigroup's penalty is less than one-fifth the penalty paid by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in its $550 million settlement with the SEC last year over a different mortgage-bond deal. Likewise, Judge Rakoff forced Bank of America and the SEC to come back with a 50-page statement and a higher penalty. He reluctantly approved the revised deal, quoting "the great American philosopher Yogi Berra" in a ruling. The judge says he saw in private practice how delays and gamesmanship made the American legal system too slow and expensive for the average person. See related stories at: and