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MetLife’s Attempt to Avoid a Court Judgement by Forum Shopping Should be Rejected

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 24, 2017
Contact: Nick Jacobs, 202-618-6430 or njacobs@bettermarkets.com


Washington, D.C. – Dennis Kelleher, President and CEO of Better Markets, issued the following statement following MetLife’s request to stay its lawsuit against the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC):

“MetLife’s request to stay its lawsuit against FSOC, now on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, has no merit.  MetLife is merely forum shopping and trying to substitute a political decision it is influencing for an independent judicial opinion that it cannot control and that will be based on the facts and law.  Tellingly, MetLife’s filing today quotes the President’s Executive Memorandum, which is so similar to MetLife’s prior court filings that MetLife itself could have written the Memorandum.

“Among other fatal flaws, MetLife fails to mention that President’s request to the Treasury Department for a report on FSOC’s designation process has no formal or official connection to FSOC whatsoever.  FSOC is not the Treasury Department and the Treasury Department is not a party to MetLife’s lawsuit.  FSOC is a separate legal entity that must itself act in accordance with the law, which is what FSOC did when it designated MetLife.  The FSOC must follow the law if it wants to change its rules relating to designation.  An agency cannot reverse its rules on a whim, a political directive or without a good reason; it if does, it will get overturned in court.

“MetLife failed to mention in its stay request that, at best, the President’s Memorandum sets in motion a complex, multi-step, multi-year process with numerous critical decision points, all of which are highly uncertain and all of which argue against granting MetLife’s request for a stay.

"First, the Treasury Department must conduct its study in the next six months.  Second, it must agree with MetLife’s positions.  Third, the Treasury’s report would need to be placed before FSOC.  Fourth, FSOC’s 10 voting members would have to agree (at least to some extent) with the report and then vote to issue a proposed rulemaking to modify its procedures along the lines of the report.  Fifth, FSOC would then have to follow the law (Administrative Procedures Act) allowing for public input and consideration.  Sixth, FSOC would have to conclude, based on the entire record and its own economic analysis, that it would be consistent with the Dodd Frank Act to change its procedures consistent with the Treasury report.  Seventh, FSOC’s 10 voting members would then have to vote to change its procedures.  Eighth, FSOC would then have to implement its new procedures, including as they might or might not apply to MetLife years down the road.  Finally, the ultimate outcome of this process—no matter what or when it might be--wouldn’t alter the record on which the FSOC acted when it designated MetLife, or change the legal character of that designation, which is the lawsuit currently before the court.

“The American public deserves to have the appellate court finish what MetLife started.  A lawsuit should not be stayed because one party now has a political ally in the White House and is looking for a political shortcut to evade a losing legal outcome.”

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Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to promote the public interest in the financial markets, support the financial reform of Wall Street and make our financial system work for all Americans again. Better Markets works with allies – including many in finance – to promote pro-market, pro-business and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements and more. To learn more, visit www.bettermarkets.com.

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