A Brooklyn judge did some research and discovered you can buy 5,000 sheets of paper for $44.99 — a little less than one cent per page.
It therefore angered Judge Arthur Schack that JPMorgan Chase was asking for 0.25 per page and $25 per hour for producing more than 18,000 pages in response to a third-party subpoena.
He reduced the fee to the equivalent of 3 centres per page (to compensate for the paper, maintenance and toner) and $6.55 per hour, the minimum wage in Indiana, where he believed the work was done.
The judge used the bank’s $9,112 request to issue an 11-page decision approving a bill of only $1,250.27, the New York Law Journal reported.
As any litigator knows, the bills from companies responding to document subpoenas — often banks or insurance companies — are insane. That is especially true considering that many documents are now produced on CDs or directly online. (In this case, 16,317 were put online.)
Of course the prices are arbitrary, but if you are representing a huge company against a huge company and you need the documents, you often just pay the bill.
That’s of course different when it is an individual trying to enforce a multimillion arbitration award, as was the case here.
The judge apparently could not help himself when illustrating that point, quoting President Barack Obama to make his feelings about the bank clear: “Clearly, Chase’s arbitrary $25.00 per hour … fee for the unsubstantiated 182 hours of research by person or persons unknown only helps to unjustly enrich ‘a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street,'” he wrote. “This Court is not a collection vehicle to further enrich already rich bankers.”
More and more judges are getting angry about the recession-related cases flooding their courtroom, and this is not the last opinion like this one we’ll see. So far, however, the upstate New York judge slamming IndyMac and completely wiping out a foreclosure claim is the clear winner.
Read the New York Law Journal’s full report here.
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