Last week, Washington Mutual Inc. had its first chance to try to claw back some of the billions of dollars in assets the holding company argues were wrongfully stripped away when the government seized and sold its banking operations to JPMorgan Chase & Co.

At issue in the Oct. 22 summary judgment hearing in a federal court in Delaware: roughly $4 billion in deposits that the holding company contends JPMorgan has illegally refused to return since last year’s sale of the largest failed consumer bank in American history. No matter how the judge rules, however, it’s just one legal battle among many.