A Miami federal judge handed TD Bank another setback today by denying its motion to overturn a $67 million verdict in favor of a group that invested with imprisoned ex-lawyer and bank customer Scott Rothstein.
TD Bank’s attorneys — Marcos D. Jimenez of Miami’s McDermott Will & Emery and Peter Covington of McGuireWoods in Charlotte, North Carolina — argued Tuesday that jury instructions were flawed and a new trial on damages should be conducted.
Texas-based Coquina Investments LLC alleged TD Bank aided and abetted Rothstein in his $1.2 billion Ponzi scam. Rothstein is serving a 50-year prison sentence.
Jimenez and Covington argued jurors were allowed to improperly consider compensation to Coquina for money paid to settle a clawback suit in the bankruptcy case of Rothstein’s defunct law firm and hold a former bank executive’s refusal to answer questions under oath against the bank. They also maintained the jury awarded double damages.
U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke denied a motion to revisit the verdict, ruling the “evidence adequately supported the award.” She previously ordered sanctions against the bank and its former counsel, Greenberg Traurig, for discovery violations. The dollar amount has not been set.
At trial, Coquina’s counsel detailed how Rothstein had bank officials write “lock letters” to assure would-be investors their money would be safe and conducted what he called “shows” for them at bank branches.
“The jury was entitled to find, based on the evidence presented, that it was particularly reprehensible that a high-level official at a bank, as well as other employees, would make fraudulent misrepresentations to investors and that a bank, which people entrust with their money, would aid and abet a Ponzi scheme such as the one Rothstein was operating,” Cooke wrote.