Between 2003 and 2017, a judge on the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals sat on three-judge panels 15 times to hear cases involving banking giant JPMorgan Chase (JPMC). Each time, the panel ruled in favor of Chase -- and, in most cases, against everyday Americans.
Does that sound fishy to you? It should, when you consider that the judge in question, Gerald Bard Tjoflat has a financial stake in JPMC. It is particularly smelly to my wife, Carol, and me, given that we lost our home of almost 25 years in Birmingham to a wrongful foreclosure and got cheated at the trial level by judges R. David Proctor and Virginia Emerson Hopkins in the Northern District of Alabama (see here, here, and here), only to see Tjoflat screw us in an even more blatant fashion at the appellate level.
A basic of American law is that no federal judge can hear a case in which he, or a member of his immediate family, has a financial interest in one of the parties. Public records make Tjoflat's financial stake in JPMC abundantly clear -- and by law, he is disqualified from sitting on any panel considering a case where JPMC is involved. But that has not stopped him from hearing appeals involving the bank at least 15 times over a 14-year period. And get this: The bank has prevailed 15 times in 15 cases where one of its shareholders (Tjoflat) serves as a judge. How's that for making American "justice" great again?
|Gerald Bard Tjoflat|
Does that stink to our readers? It sure does to us, given that we have been one of Tjoflat's victims. Let's look at the scorecard of cases where Tjoflat-led panels have consistently favored the 89-year-old judge's pocketbook by siding with his financial stake in JPMC. We conducted our research on Google Scholar, and this might not be an exhaustive list of cases involving Tjoflat and JPMC. For one, Tjoflat has been on the appellate bench since 1975, and it's possible some cases have slipped through the cracks over a 44-year period. Also, there might have been cases where JPMC was a secondary or tertiary defendant and did not appear in our search.
But we found enough cases to form a distinct pattern: When JPMC goes before a Tjoflat panel, the big bank pretty much always wins. Here is a list of specific cases:
(1) Tjoflat panel favors JPMC and other defendants in Shuler v. Jessica Garrison (2017)
(2) Tjoflat panel favors JPMC in Jacqueline Sosa, et al v. Chase Manhattan Mortgage (2003)
(3) Tjoflat panel favors JPMC in Russell Dusek v. JPMC Bank (2016)
(4) Tjoflat panel favors JPMC in Chau Kieu Nguyen v. JPMC Bank (2013)
(5) Tjoflat panel favors JPMC in Angela Sims v. Chase Home Finance (2012)
(6) Tjoflat panel favors JPMC in Alexander Harvin v. JPMC Bank (2017)
(7) Tjoflat panel favors JPMC in Michelle Hopkins v. JPMC Bank (2015)
(8) Tjoflat panel favors JPMC in Sherrance Henderson v. JPMC Bank (2011)
(9) Tjoflat panel favors JPMC in John Pinson v. JPMC Bank (2016)
(10) Tjoflat panel favors JPMC in Jason C. Harris v. Chase Home Finance (2013)
(11) Tjoflat panel favors JPMC in Steve Muhammad v. JPMC Bank (2014)
(12) Tjoflat panel favors JPMC in Carolyn Boone v. JPMC Bank (2011)
(13) Tjoflat panel favors JPMC in Vadis Frone v. JPMC Bank (2017)
(14) Tjoflat panel favors JPMC in Anne Marie De Souza v. JPMC Home Lending (2015)
(15) Tjoflat panel favors JPMC in JPMC Bank v. Thomas G. Dean (2010)
Is JPMC the only large financial institution to benefit in the Deep South because Gerald Bard Tjoflat is a shareholder? Nope, another banking behemoth has enjoyed similar benefits for years.
(To be continued)