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Bank Blames Greenberg Traurig in High-Profile Contempt Case, Says Firm Had Access to All Documents

Posted May 18, 2012 1:07 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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In the first day of a contempt hearing concerning evidence that wasn't produced in a federal civil case that resulted in a $67 million judgment against Toronto-Dominion Bank, the institution's new counsel, McGuireWoods, pointed the finger at its former counsel.

Greenberg Traurig, the bank contended Thursday, had access to all documents related to a claim by investors in a venture promoted by now-convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein that TD Bank had aided and abetted fraud by the ex-attorney. Rothstein, who at the time was operating a prominent Fort Lauderdale, Fla., law firm as its managing partner, is now serving a 50-year sentence.

But attorney David Mandel, who represents the Coquina Group, the winner of the $67 million judgment, is seeking sanctions that would stop an appeal of the judgment in its tracks, the Miami Herald reports.

He wants U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke to to strike every pleading and trial objection made on the bank's behalf by Greenberg lawyers, arguing that the bank has unclean hands. Some 75 attorneys, including the managing partner of Greenberg, attended the Miami federal court hearing.

At issue in the contempt hearing is a key document concerning the bank's policy against money laundering. Greenberg attorneys admitted in April that they and their client had said at trial that it didn't exist. But the "Standard Investigative Protocol,” in fact, did exist and detailed what TD Bank was required to do by federal law to know its customers and avert money-laundering.

The bank is also accused of altering a document that described Rothstein and his law firm as "low risk." McGuireWoods says the bank did not "doctor" the document as Coquina claims, attributing the issue to a copying error.

“This is obviously very serious,” the judge said during the Thursday hearing. “I have to determine factually what happened here. Was it inadvertence, negligence, absentmindedness or a deliberate effort to deceive the court?”

Greenberg Traurig is scheduled to present its side of the issue as the hearing continues Friday.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Greenberg Traurig Fights Sanctions Request in Rothstein Fallout"

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