Energy regulators don't buy JPMorgan's privilege argument
NEW YORK, July 17 |
NEW YORK, July 17 (Reuters) - Federal energy regulators have asked a court to reject JPMorgan Chase & Co's reason for not providing emails requested in an electricity manipulation case, according to court documents filed on Tuesday.
The investigation by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission follows complaints from grid operators that JPMorgan traders may have bid up electricity prices by some $73 million in California and the Midwest.
JPMorgan was issued two subpoenas in April and May ordering it to provide 25 emails to FERC by Friday or provide reason why it would not. The bank declined, citing attorney-client privilege.
In a response to JPMorgan, FERC investigators argued that the bank had released other emails that it had previously declared "privileged" and that the bank's reasoning why it would not release these emails was made on "incompetent evidence."
As case law makes clear, "the bare fact of cc'ing an attorney is not enough to support a privilege claim," FERC investigators concluded.
"Over the course of more than two months, JPMorgan repeatedly and adamantly claimed that dozens of unprivileged emails were privileged. JPMorgan now asks the Court to protect other emails based on the same claims it made for the unprivileged emails, based on incompetent evidence," FERC investigators concluded in a 26-page court filing.
Attorneys for JPMorgan, in court papers filed on Friday, said: "The investigation remains in the fact-finding stage and FERC has made no determination that Respondent engaged in misconduct."
JPMorgan, through a spokeswoman, declined to comment beyond Friday's court filings.
The petition was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
A spokesman for FERC said a magistrate judge would now be able to consider the petition and the two filings, and make a ruling but there is no deadline for that ruling.
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