A case first hitting the headlines in April seems ready to go into the fourth quarter but the news that Arizona Cardinal Dwight Freeney can carry on with his $20 million lawsuit against Merrill Lynch and its parent, Bank of America, may not end with the pot of gold he’s hoping to collect.
Los Angeles U.S. District Judge Margaret Morrow has agreed with the linebacker that there are enough alleged facts for the case to move forward through the courts. Unfortunately, Freeney’s allegations of racketeering and almost all the claims against Bank of America’s retail bank were thrown out by the judge leaving Freeney needing a Hail Mary to beat the brokerage arm of one of America’s biggest banks.
However, on the charges of fraud and negligent misrepresentation, the judge did find that the bank had made a concerted effort in 2010 to manage Freeney’s assets and as such these claims could move forward.
“In 2010, Dwight Freeney authorized Bank of America to manage his assets, including his NFL salary,” said Freeney’s lawyer, Jeffrey B. Isaacs, in a July statement. “Two years later, Dwight had lost more than $20 million because of BofA's fraud scheme.”
However, the two people behind the fraud, according to the Bank of America, weren’t employees of the bank when all of this deception is said to have taken place.
"The primary wrongdoer [Michael Stern who is serving 13 years] never worked for the bank or any of its affiliates," explained BofA, "and the other person [Eva Weinberg] committed her criminal conduct after she left Merrill Lynch in 2010."
The bank refused to comment on the judge’s ruling but you can be sure that things will get even more interesting before the clock runs out on Freeney.