A U.S. District Court judge has dismissed a challenge to JPMorgan Chase's $13 billion settlement with the Justice Department.
Judge Beryl Howell of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed the lawsuit on Wednesday. Better Markets, the Washington-based nonprofit that filed the lawsuit, "failed to meet its burden to show it has suffered an injury and consequently it cannot demonstrate standing," Judge Howell wrote in the ruling.
Better Markets sued in February 2014 to block the settlement, saying the Justice Department ignored a provision that required it to obtain court approval for the settlement. The $13 billion settlement was for a range of allegations made against JPMorgan, including that the company knowingly bundled and sold shoddy mortgages to investors.
The dismissal shows that "no one has standing to challenge DOJ's actions," Dennis Kelleher, Better Markets' chief executive, said in a Thursday press release
"The court never considered or ruled on the merits of our lawsuit that the DOJ did not have the unilateral authority to settle years of JPMorgan Chase's egregious illegal conduct without independent judicial review," Kelleher said. Better Markets will evaluate the court's opinion before determining its next step.
Kelleher is a former chief counsel to former Senate Democratic Policy Committee chair Byron Dorgan of North Dakota.
A JPMorgan Chase spokesperson declined to comment.
A legal expert had previously said that Better Markets faced a steep legal hurdle in proving that it had been harmed directly by the government's settlement.
"This lawsuit has almost zero chance of success. It's a better press release than a lawsuit," Samuel Buell, a professor at Duke University School of Law, told American Banker when the lawsuit was filed.