Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Banking behemoth JPMorgan Chase has a perfect batting average when it goes before appellate panels headed by one of its shareholders, Gerald Bard Tjoflat

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
That's a .1000 batting average for JPMC, and a .000 batting average for its customers who had the temerity to try holding the gigantic bank accountable before a court of law -- one that turned out to be demonstrably crooked, and yes, we are talking about you, Mr. 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)


Anonymous said...

I wonder just how much stock he owns in Chase.

Anonymous said...

This judge needs to be investigated. What a scam.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't John Roberts want us to believe we have the greatest court system in the world? If so, he needs to check this out.

legalschnauzer said...

@10:04 --

I wonder the same thing, and I haven't found the answer in public records. I believe there is law that essentially says, "The amount is irrelevant. Any amount, however small, triggers disqualification." Still, it would be interesting to know. He might not have to declare since it appears to be part of a mutual fund. The law is seriously jumbled on this issue, which I will address in a future post.

Anonymous said...

Some of your best reporting here, LS. It might not be a sexy topic, but it's darned important when a federal judge, with a lifetime appointment, is using public funds to serve as a shill for big banks.

Anonymous said...

@1:15 --

Agreed. Big story. Chase might as well have Jamie Dimon sitting on these judicial panels.

Anonymous said...

An old-fart federal judge like this guy doesn't have to answer to anybody. And you get sleazy courts because of the lack of oversight.

Anonymous said...

That foul odor in the background is the smell of bribery cooking on the stove.

Anonymous said...

Where is the mainstream media on a story like this?

Anonymous said...

That rustling noise is the sound of dollars being passed under the table.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Tjoflat tends to automatically show up on 11th Circuit cases involving JPMC. If that is the case, it suggests the entire court is in on the scheme, that they know to assign him to Chase matters. That's corruption that goes way beyond just one judge.

legalschnauzer said...

@7:47 --

That's a good question and would b worthy of serious research. And yes, that would take the corruption to a whole new level.

legalschnauzer said...

For hose who might have forgotten, we're not talking about a pristine organization. JPMC played a major role in the 2008 financial crisis. Here is one of several excellent sources on the Web:


In her book Fool's Gold, Financial Times columnist Gillian Tett focuses on the “innovation evangelists” in the firm. A team within JP Morgan developed many of the financial products like credit derivative, which almost brought down the financial system in 2008. The long subtitle of the book sums up her research: How the Bold Dream of a Small Tribe at J.P. Morgan was Corrupted by Wall Street Greed and Unleashed a Financial Catastrophe.[1] A JP Morgan executive told Tett, that the idea of creating markets for credit derivatives was first developed at a 1994 company retreat in Boca Raton (Florida):

“It was in Boca where we started talking seriously about credit derivatives. That was where the idea really took off, where we really had a vision of how big it could be. . . . ”

The purpose behind credit derivatives was to enable JP Morgan to circumvent regulatory capital requirements. The company successfully convinced regulators that it could use credit derivatives to shift risk associated with the loans it made. Therefore, it did not need to set aside capital to cover losses in the event that borrowers defaulted. With credit derivatives, JP Morgan not only succeeded in shifting risks off its own books, but created a rapidly expanding market which raked in billions in fees for financial institutions. A journalist covering JP Morgan in the 1990’s commented:

“They thought they were the smartest guys on the planet. They had found this brilliant way to get around the rules, to play around with all this risk. And they were just so proud of what they had done.”

legalschnauzer said...

Here is more about Chase and its efforts to oppose regulation, and lax regulation helped ignite the near collapse of our financial system:

JP Morgan has campaigned for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, since it was first introduced in 1933. From the company’s founding in the 1860’s until the Depression, JP Morgan grew into a major financial powerhouse, by combining the commercial and investment sides of banking. According to Ron Chernow, author of The House of Morgan:

“The Glass-Steagall Act took dead aim at the House of Morgan. After all, it was the bank that had most spectacularly fused the two forms of banking.” [9]According to Chernow, the Morgan financial empire:
“was shattered by the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, which erected a high wall between commercial banking (making loans and accepting deposits) and investment banking (issuing stocks and bonds).”
To conform with Glass-Steagall, J.P. Morgan became a commercial bank and established Morgan Stanley as a separate investment bank. [10] JP Morgan was accused of keeping to the letter, but not the spirit of the Glass-Steagall Act, because of the close ties it initially maintained with Morgan Stanley. Most of Morgan Stanley’s preferred stock was owned by JP Morgan executives; JP Morgan referred clients to Morgan Stanley and Morgan Stanley trades were cleared at JP Morgan. A lawyer for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accused JP Morgan of creating a “legal fiction” in Morgan Stanley, in order to maintain its investment banking business. However, by the 1980’s, Morgan Stanley was breaking away from traditional, conservative JP Morgan culture to engage in riskier activities. [11]

In the 1980’s, JP Morgan spearheaded an attempt to repeal Glass-Steagall, but failed to convince the then chair of the Federal Reserve, Paul Volcker. Volcker was concerned about banks getting into risky activities, then having to be bailed out by the government. Alan Greenspan, who was a Morgan director at the time, promoted the bank’s case against Glass-Steagall.

Anonymous said...

I still don't understand how a wall st bank like jp morgan can foreclose on a mortgage loan in which they never had any money invested in? For most people to get the courts to hear your case you had to show your standing to make a claim. If you did not suffer harm by the other parties actions, or non-action then the courts will not hear it. Now, however wall street would have us to believe that if they go under so will the whole economy. Because of this fear they do not have to prove standing in order for them to file a claim against you. Sure it was on their letterhead and you were led to believe that you were getting a loan from jp morgan but the fact is, it was not the banks money that was being loaned to you. That was the reason they made so many bad loans, they didn't care if you defaulted or not, they could not lose one dime because it wasn't the banks money that was being loaned out. In fact they are making money off bad loans. The investors are the ones who are stuck with worthless mortgage backed bonds while the bank is awarded a house they never loss a dime on. It's a windfall, a free house, thanks to our pro wall street courts. The biggest financial fraud in history and it's still ongoing.

Anonymous said...

@12:42 --

Not sure I understand your point, but I do understand this: JPMorgan Chase is not just a Wall Street Bank. It has divisions, one of which is Chase Mortgage -- and it held our mortgage. That's how we have standing, and how the courts were due to hear the case and did hear the case, even though they butchered certain procedural matters, as I've outlined in other posts.