A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] ruled on Tuesday that Madoff trustee Irving Picard cannot appeal [opinion, PDF] a ruling that threw out most of his $1 billion suit against the New York Mets. In the ruling Judge Jed Rakoff found that the only purpose an appeal would serve would be to delay the trial. Picard's suit alleged that Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, owners of the baseball franchise, invested heavily in the Bernard Madoff [JURIST news archive] Ponzi scheme and failed to notice warning signs that told of Madoff's fraud. In Rakoff's 14-page opinion he found that allowing an interlocutory appeal before the rest of the litigation has played out would be counterproductive to the purpose of the trial. Additionally, he stated that only extraordinary circumstances would allow for deviation from the standard of waiting until the end of the trial for appeal and this case does not justify such action:
After careful consideration, the Court concludes that the Trustee has entirely failed to demonstrate the kind of extraordinary circumstances that would warrant this Court in granting his motion. Indeed, with the trial of this case firmly set to begin just two months from now, the main effect of granting the Trustee's motion would be to materially delay, rather than materially advance the ultimate termination of the litigation.Rakoff's earlier ruling threw out all or part of nine of 11 of Picard's claims letting him pursue just over $300 million. The case is set to go to trial March 19, during the middle of the Mets spring training schedule.
In July the court approved [JURIST report] the first payouts to Madoff's victims. Picard filed almost 60 lawsuits [JURIST report] for victims of Madoff's fraud in December 2010, including suits against JPMorgan Chase and HSBC. Judge Louis Stanton made Picard the trustee [order, PDF] of Bernard L. Madoff Securities, LLC in December 2008. Madoff was sentenced [JURIST report] in June 2009 to 150 years in prison for securities fraud stemming from his Ponzi scheme. He pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to 11 counts of securities fraud in March 2009.