In a significant development, a federal judge has approved the settlement of a class-action lawsuit against JP Morgan Chase, where the bank will pay $290 million to victims of s*xual abuse by Jeffrey Epstein. The victims claimed that the bank ignored warnings about the disgraced financier.
JPMorgan, the nation’s largest bank, is set to compensate nearly 200 victims of Jeffrey Epstein, according to a legal filing. This settlement follows a preliminary agreement reached in June between JPMorgan and lawyers for the victims, avoiding a potential civil trial in federal court.
Judge Jed Rakoff granted final approval to the settlement after holding a hearing to assess its fairness to the victims. The approval signals the closure of a crucial chapter in the Epstein saga, shedding light on the role of major banks in enabling his misconduct for almost two decades.
Victims’ Support and Concerns
Fifteen unidentified victims submitted written declarations supporting the settlement, highlighting ongoing struggles with mental health issues. However, attorneys general from 16 states and Washington, D.C., expressed concerns about certain language in the settlement that might hinder states from pursuing their s*x-trafficking claims.
Despite the concerns raised by the attorney general, Judge Rakoff deemed them hypothetical and found no issue with the settlement language. He emphasized that the substantial settlement sends a message about the responsibility of banking institutions.
Terms of the Settlement
The settlement resolves a lawsuit filed in November on behalf of victims abused by Epstein between 1998 and 2013. It alleged that JPMorgan ignored red flags indicating Epstein’s trafficking of teenage girls. The bank faced another civil suit in September, agreeing to pay $75 million to the U.S. Virgin Islands over claims of negligence in deterring Epstein’s s*x trafficking operation.
Revelations and Legal Fees
The settlements came after months of embarrassing disclosures about how JPMorgan executives retained Epstein as a client despite warnings. Judge Rakoff approved the law firms Boies Schiller Flexner and Edwards Henderson Lehrman to keep 30% of the settlement as legal fees, with an additional reimbursement of $1.1 million for litigation expenses.
The approved settlement not only provides compensation to victims but also underscores the responsibility of financial institutions. JPMorgan’s involvement in the Epstein saga, and subsequent settlements, serves as a stark reminder of the complexities surrounding high-profile cases and the consequences for institutions that overlook warning signs.