Madoff/Picard/Judge Rakoff/Wilpons-Mets: Picard Strikes Out in His Effort to Appeal Judge Rakoff’s Ruling Before Trial – Installment 68

January 18, 2012Articles White Collar Defense & Compliance Blog

Previous Installments in this blog series, the most recent of which was Installment 64, have followed key rulings of Federal District Court Judge Jed S. Rakoff in the battle between Irving Picard, the Trustee in the Madoff bankruptcy proceeding, and the Wilpon Interests. (Capitalized terms used herein that are not defined herein shall have the meanings assigned to them in Installment 64.) In his latest Opinion and Orderof January 17, 2012, Judge Rakoff denied the motion of Picard for an immediate interlocutory appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals of Judge Rakoff’s earlier ruling on September 27, 2011 that greatly limited the amount that Picard could seek to recover from the Wilpon Interests. As a result Judge Rakoff’s “fixed and firm” trial date of March 19, 2012 remains unaffected.

As pointed out by Richard Sandomir in his New York Times article today entitled “Mets Owners Can Look Forward to Trial During Spring Training,”

The following picture, then, is a near certainty: a month into spring training, Wilpon and Katz, while fielding a team with a reduced payroll, minus its best player, Jose Reyes, and swimming in debt, will be under oath in Rakoff’s Manhattan courtroom. The trial could take at least four weeks.

Therefore, the Wilpon Interests will likely be consumed more with an ongoing trial than baseball on Thursday, April 5, the scheduled opening day of the Mets season at home against the Atlanta Braves, unless the parties can settle before then. (On a more positive note for the Wilpon Interests, March 19 itself appears to be an open date during spring training.)

The possibility of settlement, however, presently seems unlikely, since as Sandomir states, the Wilpon Interests view a trial as “a chance to formally rebut claims that they profited improperly from investing with Madoff and built their fortunes on his fraud.”

Pitchers, catchers and injured players can report as early as Valentine’s Day. Stay tuned for new developments in the ever-evolving case of Picard vs. the Wilpon Interests.

[To be continued in Installment 69]