Judge Blocks Madoff Trustee's Appeal In Mets Case

Jan 18 2012 | 11:14am ET

The trustee in the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme case cannot yet appeal the dismissal of most of his case against the owners of the New York Mets.

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff denied Irving Picard's bid for an interlocutory appeal of Rakoff's September ruling, cutting Picard's case against Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz to about $386 million from more than $1 billion. Rakoff's ruling means that Picard cannot appeal the earlier ruling prior to trial, set to begin in March; he can appeal the ruling after the trial.

Picard has warned that Rakoff's reading of the law will substantially affect other lawsuits and could slash the amount he can recover for Madoff's victims.

Yesterday, Picard wrote that an interlocutory appeal would serve to "materially delay, rather than materially advance, the ultimate termination of the litigation." In a sop to Picard, Rakoff pointed out that the "factual record developed at the forthcoming trial of this case will likely have relevance to many of the issues that the trustees seeks by his motion to put before the Court of Appeals."

Picard has alleged that the Mets owners either knew that Madoff was running a scam or willfully ignored evidence pointing to that conclusion. Wilpon and Katz deny that they had any inkling of the fraud.

The trial in the case will begin on March 19—unless the two sides reach a settlement.

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