Rakoff Approves BofA Settlement, Criticizes Cuomo’s Prose

Everyone’s favorite judge,” the ballroom-dancing iconoclast Jed Rakoff is a Bank of America buster no more.

This morning, in an opinion quoting the “great American philosopher Yogi Berra,” Mr. Rakoff–who read philosophy at Oxford– finally approved a settlement between the big bank and the S.E.C.

“If the Court were deciding that question solely on the merits–de novo, as the lawyers say–the Court would reject the settlement as inadequate and misguided,” wrote Mr. Rakoff, who had previously scuttled a settlement between the two parties. “In the exercise of…self-restraint, this Court, while shaking its head grants the S.E.C.’s motion and approves the proposed Consent Judgment.”

The ruling comes after Mr. Rakoff took the weekend to review some depositions sent over from Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s office, which is conducting its own aggressive investigation. The federal judge–who also studied English at Swarthmore–was less restrained when it came to Mr. Cuomo’s writing.

“Bank of America’s management thought of itself as too big to play by the rules and, just as disturbingly, too big to tell the truth,” wrote the A.G.’s office in one typically overblown passage from its filings.

“While even in an era of purple prose, such language may seem deepest violet,” Mr. Rakoff critiqued, “it is nonetheless equivalent of alleging that the Bank and its top officers purposely defrauded their shareholdors, or at the very least, acted in reckless disregard of the facts and the law.”

Rakoff Approves BofA Settlement, Criticizes Cuomo’s Prose