Judge Marvin Shoob has again dismissed a fraud case by Atlanta lawyers for the Securities and Exchange Commission against an investment company, despite a strong suggestion from a federal appeals court that the investment company did wrong and deserved to be punished.

Shoob, a senior judge on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, ruled in 2005 that the SEC was wrong to close down Merchant Capital LLC of Tennessee, which the SEC claimed had defrauded its investors of more than $20 million. Shoob said the conduct of the company and its principals “was at all times appropriate, legal, ethical and forthright.”