How the settlement of the decade happened: two guys on the phone, talking

Usually I stay away from big business lawsuits because I don’t really know much about big corporation law and Sidebar (and its creator) like to report on individuals’ lawsuits, i.e., little guys like us.

Still, I’m linking this New York Times article (U.S. Deal With JPMorgan Followed a Crucial Call –, by Ben Protess and Jessica Silver-Greenberg, because I’ve witnesses the fury of average citizens over the Big Crash of 2008. The general scream is, “I’m suffering [foreclosures, loss of equity, loss of jobs are all cited] but the banks that caused my suffering haven’t been touched.” And, the codicil, “This administration, especially the Attorney General, hasn’t done a damn thing to prosecute the big banks.” The criticism of Eric Holder has been particularly out of control. (In this regard, look carefully at the lines underneath the photograph, about Holder’s tough stand with JPMorgan, which makes it clear that JPMorgan is not out of trouble.)

Well, as this sub-story to the big story about the monster settlement demonstrates, Eric Holder has “done a damn thing” — although I understand the frustration: people don’t grasp how long it takes and difficult it is for lawyers, especially those in government, to investigate and prosecute big corporations (reading through and making order out of the discovery alone must take years and hundreds of lawyers). The government agencies (underfunded at any time as compared to big law firms, but especially underfunded currently, thanks to the House Republicans and the sequester) who oversee these matters and who apply the law to these cases have had success, even if news about these successes comes so many years after the failure and doesn’t carry headlines that match the failures in size. That is, the media don’t do a good job of reporting, analyzing and explaining, and so people aren’t really noticing.

This article not only makes it billions of dollars clear about the success of the Office of the Attorney General and other administration agencies in prosecuting big banks, it individualizes the success: Jamie Dimon made a phone call to Eric Holder. Two real people, on the telephone.

It won’t satisfy many of you, I guess, but I think it’s worthy of attention.


This entry was posted in Law, suits and order and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.