MF Global Customer Lawsuit Stands—With A Scolding

Feb 12 2014 | 10:21am ET

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero sounds as though he'd very much like to dismiss a lawsuit against former executives of the collapsed MF Global. But for the second time, he's refused to do so.

Marrero said yesterday that it was reasonable to infer that someone "did something wrong to set in motion such an extraordinary chain of events causing such extensive harm to so many people and interests." But he also blasted the customer lawsuit as "wasteful and rancorous."

The judge dismissed some parts of the lawsuit, criticizing the customers' lawyers for asserting claims that "fly in the face of clear precedent." And, as if that wasn't enough, Marrero blasted both sides for not resolving the matter "in a just and efficient way."

In November, Marrero also refused to dismiss an investor lawsuit against former MF Global CEO Jon Corzine and other executives, similarly reasoning that someone was probably at fault for the "massive train wreck" that was MF Global's failure. And last month, he allowed to stand a Commodity Futures Trading Commission lawsuit against Corzine and former MF Global assistant treasurer Edith O'Brien.

In the customer lawsuit, Marrero dismissed claims that Corzine and O'Brien directly violated the Commodity Exchange Act, but allowed claims that he aided and abetted the violation of the law to proceed. He also threw out the case against auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers and some state-law claims. But the heart of the case—breach of fiduciary duty, negligence and tortious interference with contract and business advantage—remain.

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