A Federal Judge Bought Apple And Microsoft Bonds While Overseeing A Case Against Them — Then Dismissed It

- Advertisement -


- Advertisement -

A federal judge dismissing child-trafficking and forced labor lawsuits against large technology firms including Apple and Microsoft argues that their decision on their conflict of interest claims in the case should not be empty.

Judge, Carl J. Nichols, a longtime corporate attorney who was appointed by President Donald Trump to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in 2019, had bond holdings in Apple and Microsoft when they were assigned at the end of the case. In 2019, while the matter was pending with him, he bought more bonds in both companies, according to an appeal filed against his decision last month. A separate filing that includes Judge Nichols’ financial disclosure forms shows that in 2020 he bought bonds in Apple seven times, and Microsoft five times, with holdings valued between $60,000 and $200,000.

- Advertisement -

The dispute over Nichols’ financial interest in companies involved in a case before him comes after September Article The Wall Street Journal reported that 131 federal judges, from 2010 to 2010, did not recuse themselves from 685 lawsuits in which they or their families had a financial interest, in clear violation of the law. Journal reports threatened to end hundreds of cases. , opening a door for litigants to appeal the decisions. Some of those cases apologized and My mistake from the mentioned judges.

The federal law in question, known as Section 455, requires that judges recuse themselves from cases in which their impartiality may be questioned, including their “financial interest” in the subject matter of the case or Any party involved is involved.

While Nichols declined to comment for this article, he said in a recent legal filing in April that he had not violated Section 455 because his holdings in Apple and Microsoft were bonds, not stocks – as initially was claimed by the plaintiff – and was therefore not to recuse himself from the proceedings. Pointing to a prior legal opinion, he said holding a bond “does not express an ownership interest in the issuer,” so it “does not give rise to a financial interest in the debtor.” Nichols further stated that he no longer holds bonds in Apple or Microsoft.

NYU Law School professor Stephen Gillers, who focused on this, notes that “even a share of stock in a party would remove a judge, but under the judge’s view, a large bond in one party, enough to pay interest.” will have no effect.” judicial ethics, said in an email. “To me, it’s inconsistent.”

The plaintiffs pointed to another flurry of investments made in tech-focused ETF funds dominated by holdings in four of the defendant companies. In several transactions in 2019 and 2020, before and during his time overseeing the case, Judge Nichols held between $265,00 and $550,000 in stock in Vanguard Growth — a fund that includes Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet and Tesla shares dominated; Each defendant in the lawsuit—according to a legal filing. Based on shares in these companies held by Vanguard Growth, Judge Nichols placed between $90,000 and $192,000 worth of interest in the companies listed as defendants in the lawsuit, according to the plaintiffs—a figure that the plaintiffs argued was substantial. was sufficient to warrant a re-evaluation.

Judge Nichols’ action is “a matter of grave concern,” says Charles Geh, a professor at Indiana University Maurer School of Law who studies judicial conduct, ethics and procedure. Also that Nichols increased his holding several times while the matter was before him. “It’s more than the state of your garden variety,” Geh says. “It’s very rare to see judges feathering their nests on purpose.. .Usually you have the exclusion of the judge.”

The case was brought on behalf of 16 anonymous plaintiffs — either children hurt or killed in artistic cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or their family members — by Washington, DC-based human rights attorney Terence Collingsworth. The lawsuit claimed that some of the plaintiffs were working in mines that provided cobalt to several mining companies such as Glencore, which in turn supplied the mineral for batteries made by five technology company defendants, including Dell. Included.

Dismissing the case, Nichols said that, among other things, the plaintiffs failed to establish links between the cobalt mines where the children were injured and their causal links with the tech companies. “It was a perfect storm,” Collingsworth says. “A Trump appointee who had been in corporate law for years and invested in the companies we sued.”

A decision is expected before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in the coming days.

Credit: www.forbes.com /

- Advertisement -

Stay on top - Get the daily news in your inbox

DMCA / Correction Notice

Recent Articles

Related Stories

Stay on top - Get the daily news in your inbox