November 6, 2007
SLM Transcript Hearing
Access it here. As usual it is a great read, though rather long. I start with a quote from Strine:
I mean, we haven't gotten Mother Teresa and Gandhi and Franklin Roosevelt to come back to life as some sort of tribunal of MAC . . . .
As for a trial date, Strine said to SLM:
I'm not holding you to -- I forget what you said. A month. I'm not holding you to the week. If you can get your document production substantially completed, really, by the end of the calendar year, except for that category of information that really -- that the defendants are going to seek relating to the performance of Sallie Mae in January and early February, then we will go with the July date. If not -- and I want people to be realistic about this. If not, we are going to go to with the date right after Labor Day, although September, for -- often, for folks' religious reasons, ends up starting to get difficult.
Ultimately, he set a trial date of July 14 based on this with lots of side comments about an expected delay past Thanksgiving. I would be very surprised if this went to trial in 2008. All-in-all, I think the Flowers group fared better this time. In fact, reading the transcript one is struck by how little Marc Wolinsky, the lawyer for the Flowers Group had to speak to get a result he was likely happy with.
Otherwise, the most interesting thing is that Strine sent the parties to back to consider a "discovery-free" paper ruling again if they want one with the cost being a longer delay in a real trial. Here, SLM seemed to be more hesitant, a few times saying they needed to confer with their client before agreeing to it.
Strine also seemed to be very cognizant of appellate review on this matter -- referring to the possibility several times and at one point contemplating the parties' waiving their rights to such an appeal. Finally, just for fun he had the following to say about investment bankers and the discovery process:
My experience is that investment banks, high on their priority list is not the production of documents. Unfortunately, you had -- sometimes they will even tell you, "We have no duty to produce documents. Even though we took money from the client, we don't have to do that." Then you have to go through the rigmarole and . . . .
Those recalcitrant investment bankers . . . .
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