Daily Archives: June 17, 2014


James Flynn; Dominic Morelli v. Bank of America Corp.; Barclays PLC; Citigroup Inc.;

More than two dozen exchanges engaged in high-frequency trading to manipulate the U.S. securities markets, diverting billions of dollars annually from buyers and sellers, a class claims.

What do federal appellate judges own in assets?


Sort by name, circuit or investment to find the assets owned, gifts and reimbursements received and extra income earned by federal appellate judges. Scroll down to view results in each category. Note that judges report the income and value amounts for each asset in a range. The data below represents financial disclosure reports from 2012, the most recent calendar year available. Federal judges must file 2013 reports by May 15, 2014.

Check out your judge’s investments. Click here.


Fourth foreclosure case reopened after Center of Public Integrity uncovers judicial conflict of interest

Fourth foreclosure case reopened after Center of Public Integrity uncovers judicial conflict of interest

New panel of judges reaches same conclusion in Maryland foreclosure case

A federal appeals court has scrapped a 2010 foreclosure ruling in favor of Wells Fargo Bank after a Center for Public Integrity investigation revealed that one of the three judges who participated in the decision owned stock in the banking giant.

But Mountaga and Michelle Johnson Bah, the couple fighting to keep their Bowie, Maryland, home, didn’t get the decision they wanted when a new panel of judges reopened the case. On June 10, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals once again dismissed the couple’s claims accusing Wells Fargo of predatory lending.

“I do not agree with it,” Mountaga Bah said of the most recent judgment.

“I’m not going to give up,” he added. “I am not going to leave my home.”

The Virginia-based appeals court reopened the case at the Bahs’ request. The couple had challenged the judgment after the court acknowledged in March that Judge Barbara Keenan owned $1,900 worth of stock in Wells Fargo at the time she participated in the 2010 ruling favoring the bank.

In a May 27 letter to the court, Bah called the original appeals court judgment unfair and urged the court to reopen the case. “The only decision we are looking for is the dismissal of the decision and to save our home with our three little girls,” he wrote.

The Center identified the conflict while reporting its months-long “Juris Imprudence” investigation, which found 26 examples since 2010 where federal appellate judges ruled on cases in which they had a financial conflict. By law, judges cannot own even a single share of stock in companies that come before them. 

In response to the Center’s findings — and as required under court rules — judges in all of those cases had letters sent to the litigants to alert them of the conflicts. The letters were the first step in possibly reopening the cases.

Keenan’s case is the fourth to be reopened due to the Center’s reporting.


Texas, La. Counties Urge High Court To Hear MERS Fraud Row

Texas, La. Counties Urge High Court To Hear MERS Fraud Row

Law360, Los Angeles (June 16, 2014, 6:17 PM ET) — Louisiana parishes and Texas counties have urged the U.S. Supreme Court to revive their Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act suits accusing banks of defrauding them, alleging in a filing made available Monday that they were injured by the banks’ use of Mortgage Electronic Registration System Inc., a database of residential mortgage servicer information, to avoid paying local recording fees.


Goldman Sachs : Ex-Goldman director goes to prison, still owes $13.9 million fine

Goldman Sachs : Ex-Goldman director goes to prison, still owes $13.9 million fine

Former Goldman Sachs Group Inc director Rajat Gupta on Tuesday began serving his two-year prison term for insider trading, and lost his challenge to a $13.9 million civil penalty and permanent ban from acting as a public company officer.

Gupta, 65, reported to FMC Devens, a medical facility and satellite camp in Ayer, Massachusetts about 40 miles (64 km) northwest of Boston, a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons said.

The former global managing director of the McKinsey & Co consulting firm began his term as the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals separately rejected his claim that the fine and officer ban imposed in a separate U.S. Securities and Exchange Commision civil case was excessive.

A three-judge panel of that court concluded that U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, who oversaw the criminal and civil cases, acted within his discretion in imposing that punishment.

Seth Waxman, a lawyer for Gupta, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. SEC spokesman John Nester declined immediate comment.

A jury convicted Gupta in June 2012 of passing confidential information he learned from Goldman board meetings, including a crucial investment from Warren Buffett, to Raj Rajaratnam, the onetime billionaire founder of the Galleon Group hedge fund.


Ocwen to Pay $3.7 Million to Settle Massachusets Claims

Ocwen to Pay $3.7 Million to Settle Massachusets Claims

Ocwen Financial Corp. (OCN) agreed to pay $3.7 million to end a Massachusetts lawsuit claiming it didn’t give homeowners required notices and illegally foreclosed on properties, the state’s attorney general said.

Under the deal, homeowners will get $3 million of the settlement, with the balance going to the state, Attorney General Martha Coakley said in a statement today.

Investigative journalist Michael Hastings’s widow discusses ‘The Last Magazine’

Elise Jordan curled her petite frame into the sofa in her sunny apartment in TriBeCa and kept her voice steady as she explained why she pushed to publish the unfinished novel of her husband, Michael Hastings, on the first anniversary of his death.

“I know he’d be so happy right now to be sparking controversy,” Ms. Jordan said.

Controversy was something of a specialty for Mr. Hastings, an investigative journalist who became known for poking sticks at authority figures and digging into issues related to the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He gained national attention in 2010 for a Rolling Stone article that led to the resignation of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the commander of United States forces in Afghanistan. He wrote another Rolling Stone article in 2012, long before Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl became an internationally known prisoner of war, that took a critical look at his Army platoon.

His new novel, “The Last Magazine,” to be published on Tuesday by Blue Rider Press, has a lighter touch than his reported pieces but can be every bit as cutting. A satire of Mr. Hastings’s experiences as an intern at Newsweek in 2002-3 as the Iraq war approached, the book skewers characters who seem to be thinly disguised portraits of his bosses there, while serving up a humorous but damning indictment of the mainstream news media’s role in the march to war.

The couple had discussed the novel, Ms. Jordan said, but she had mostly forgotten about it as she grieved over his death at 33 in a fiery car crash in Los Angeles. Then some of Mr. Hastings’s former colleagues at Newsweek sent her the manuscript. She read it through on the first sitting. “I laughed when I read it,” she said. “I thought it was his best book.”

Read on.

 Interesting enough that the FBI opened a file on Hastings. FBI denied it at first. But, it took some journalists to push for FOIA request. From Wikipedia:

The FBI file on Michael Hastings and its attachments (totaling 21 pages) were released to the public on September 24, 2013, after investigative journalist Jason Leopold and MIT doctoral candidate Ryan Shapiro filed a joint suit in July 2013 against the FBI for ignoring their FOIA requests for the file. The FBI failed to respond to the requests within the allotted 20-day period. On  August 15, Leopold released a statement that read, “The Department of Justice (DOJ) has indicated that the FBI has likely located responsive records pertaining to investigative journalist Michael Hastings.”  Al Jazeera, along with Shapiro, released results from a FOIA request showing that the FBI’s Washington field office had opened a file on Hastings in June 2012 to store “unclassified media articles” and “memorialize controversial reporting by Rolling Stone magazine on June 7, 2012”. The attorney who filed the FOIA lawsuit, Jeff Light, suggested that it was uncommon for the FBI to open such files on reporters.


The FBI turned over the three-page document to Al Jazeera and MIT doctoral candidate Ryan Shapiro in response to a joint-Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed against the agency.

Date 19 September 2013, 23:59:57

Click to access Al-jazeera-fbi-michael-hastings-release.pdf




US Bank Borrowers Get Cert. In Force-Placed Flood Policy Suit

US Bank Borrowers Get Cert. In Force-Placed Flood Policy Suit

Case Title

Ellsworth v. U.S. Bank, N.A.

Case Number



California Northern

Nature of Suit

Contract: Other


Laurel Beeler

Law360, Los Angeles (June 16, 2014, 7:24 PM ET) — A California federal judge on Friday certified a class action brought against U.S. Bank NA for allegedly charging homeowners force-placed flood insurance rates that were inflated by improper kickbacks and policy backdating, also rejecting the bank’s motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beller granted plaintiffs’ motion for class certification, endorsing three multistate classes on contract claims based on two kickback theories of liability and one backdating theory.

After plaintiffs moved for certification, U.S. Bank sought to escape a number…