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August 26, 2016

Court Seeks To Add “Too Bad To Sue” To Banks That Are Already “Too Big To Fail” and “Too Big To Jail”

Friday, August 26, 2016
Contact: Nick Jacobs, 202-618-6430 or

**To read the full amicus brief click here**

Washington, D.C. – Better Markets today submitted an amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court, in support of a petition for certiorari to the Sixth Circuit in United States ex rel. Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc. v. U.S. Bank N.A., No. 16-130. The petition was highlighted as “petition of the day” by the influential web site SCOTUSblog last week. 

Dennis Kelleher, President and CEO of Better Markets, issued the following statement about the case:

“Too often, corporate crime pays, but courts should not torture statutory language and intent to facilitate if not enable that outcome, particularly when taxpayers and the government are the victims. Yet that is the inevitable consequence of a recent decision by the federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals if it is not reviewed and reversed by the Supreme Court, which the amicus brief we submitted today seeks. 

“The Sixth Circuit ruled that a bank could not be sued for defrauding a federal agency because it was publicly known that the bank had systematic deficiencies in its foreclosure practices that threatened homeowners, communities, and the stability of the national banking system. But until the filing of the lawsuit by Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, a community organization in Ohio, it was not publicly known that the bank was defrauding the federal agency by taking its money while violating important requirements of the program. In essence, the Sixth Circuit held that because the bank was generally known to be so bad that the government was on notice that the bank was defrauding its specific program.

“This is dangerous logic and bad law, which will leave taxpayers exposed to rampant fraud. If not reviewed and reversed by the Supreme Court, this decision will coin yet another unwelcome crisis-era phrase:  huge banks will not only be “too big to fail” and their executives “too big to jail,” but banks known to have systematic problems will be “too bad to sue” for defrauding the government. The Supreme Court should grant the petition, reverse the Sixth Circuit, and restore robust antifraud enforcement.”


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

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