Banking Law

Negative Remarks Banned in Trial Pitting Trial Lawyers Group Against Wachovia


The lawyers will have to mind their manners as a breach-of-contract trial gets under way this week that pits the trial lawyers group American Association for Justice against its would-be lender, Wachovia Bank.

A pretrial motion in the Washington, D.C., federal case sets out the parameters, Bloomberg News reports. “Wachovia’s counsel shall not make any derogatory remarks generally about trial lawyers, and AAJ’s counsel shall not make any derogatory remarks generally about banks or Wall Street,” the document says.

The AAJ claims it lost a bid to become sole owner of a building in Washington, D.C., after Wachovia refused to honor a 10-year interest-only loan commitment. The bank withdrew in late 2007, citing a contract clause allowing termination if there is a material adverse change in the financial markets.

Wachovia offered a bridge loan instead, but the trial lawyers group rejected it and obtained financing elsewhere. According to Bloomberg, the trial will test the banking industry’s ability to use the economic crisis as a reason to back out of a deal.

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