U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon has denied the pleas of Merrill Lynch, CSFB and Barclays PLC to delay a $40 billion lawsuit by former Enron shareholders and investors against them; the suit will now go to trial April 9. In their argument for a delay, defense for the banks—accused of playing a key role in the company’s collapse—argued that they should wait for a pending decision from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In a motion, attorneys offered:
There is nothing sinister about the suggestion that since the Fifth Circuit will be ruling on that appeal, the court and the parties should take the time to apply the Fifth Circuit's guidance to the class definition, the parties, the claims and the defenses before sending class notice and embarking on a jury trial estimated to last many months.
While sinister may not be the right word to describe it—we’re a bit more partial to ‘underhanded,’ ‘conniving,’ ‘in line with the nature of unmitigated pricks' [Ed.'s note: some around here think that last one was too mean, and prefer, 'in line with the schemes of evil genius lawyers']—, the desire to wait on the Fifth circuit would certainly be in the best interest of the banks, as the Fifth is the very same one that said there was trouble with Skilling’s convictions and seems to be very skeptical about the Enron case in general. In other news, we received a tip late last night that Ken Lay was spotted on line at the UWS Gray’s Papya. Anyone got confirmation?
Judge denies motion to delay Enron suit [AP via DealBook]