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The Conflicted Dept. of Justice Should Be Disqualified From the MetLife Case

Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Contact: Nick Jacobs, 202-618-6430 or njacobs@bettermarkets.com


Washington, D.C. – Dennis M. Kelleher, following the failure of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to disqualify the Department of Justice in MetLife v. FSOC and granting an abeyance in the case until after the Treasury Department has issued its report on FSOC in November, issued this statement:

“The Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), as a party in litigation with MetLife, is suffering actual prejudice from the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) conflicted simultaneous representation of multiple clients on the same legal issue.  FSOC’s legal adversary in the litigation, MetLife, filed a baseless Motion to delay the appeal court from ruling in the case for at least six months.  DOJ, supposedly on behalf of its client FSOC, inexplicably did not oppose that motion, but requested a 60-day delay in pathetic one-page filing.  That was followed by a more recent equally deficient filing asking for another 30 days’ delay.  In effect, the DOJ on behalf of FSOC was consenting to at least 50% of the delay MetLife was baselessly requesting and doing so without even taking a position on the motion itself.

“An independent, conflict-free lawyer zealously representing FSOC would have opposed MetLife’s request and exposed its baselessness to the court.  DOJ, however, is conflicted representing multiple clients and appears to have subordinated FSOC’s interests to DOJ’s other clients. 

“DOJ is simultaneously representing the President, the Treasury Secretary, the Treasury Department and the FSOC in connection with FSOC’s designation authority.  The President, the Treasury Secretary and the Treasury Department appear to have one view of that authority and FSOC clearly has an opposing view of that authority, which is the key legal issue in the litigation with MetLife.  Moreover, the President, the Treasury Secretary and the Treasury Department appear to have roughly the same position as MetLife, FSOC’s legal opponent in the litigation. 

“Those conflicts of interest prevent DOJ from independently and zealously representing each of its clients as it is obligated to do.  FSOC is being harmed by these conflicts.  DOJ should be disqualified from representing FSOC in the litigation.  The court’s failure to do so today is inexplicable, as is its granting MetLife a six month abeyance.”



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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