Hey, remember that worldwide economic collapse of 2008? My, how time flies when you're watching your 401k vaporize. Well, the litigating over those blamed for helping cause the free-fall is not over, as evidenced by a case in U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter's courtroom, where the U.S. Justice Department is suing the Standard & Poor's credit rating system for $5 billion.
The gubment alleges Standard & Poor's fraudulently underplayed the risk in various securities leading up the collapse, according to the complaint Carter is pushing to be ready for trial in August 2015.
Standard & Poor's is expected to argue that banks ought to shoulder most of the blame for risky investments and poor financial decisions, reports City News Service's Paul Anderson, who has S&P attorneys telling them the government's suit is revenge for downgrading the country's debt following the bruising debt-ceiling struggle of 2011.
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Carter is definitely fast-tracking this sucker. Several banks sped up getting necessary documents to the defense--and therefore sped up the trial date--at the judge's direction in May. These include the Royal Bank of Scotland, Countrywide Securities Corp., Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. and Citigroup. After arguing in Carter's courtroom this week over procedural issues, Bank of America and the National Credit Union Administration, which regulates credit unions, hopped to it also.
That likely pleased Carter, who has let representatives of the banks and S&P know he wants no delays in getting the case before a jury. To that end, the judge said he wants 100 planned depositions by attorneys completed by the end of the year. Among those who may land in the hot seat is former U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.