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Large Cap
Market Cap £7.27bn
Enterprise Value £15.32bn
Revenue £3.65bn
Position in Universe 118th / 1041

Arab-American bias lawsuit against JPMorgan can proceed -U.S. judge

Thu 21st July, 2016 9:40pm
By Dena Aubin 
    NEW YORK, July 21 (Reuters) - An Arab-American family whose 
business and personal bank accounts were closed in 2014 without 
explanation can sue JPMorgan Chase  JPM.N  for racial 
discrimination, a federal judge in Detroit has ruled. 
    Filed in February, the lawsuit by Najah Manni, his wife 
Kathy and their two children says the largest U.S. bank further  
discriminated against them by terminating a contract with their 
debt collection and services business in 2015, defaming Najah as 
a "reputational risk" in the process. 
    They are seeking damages for defamation and violations of 
Michigan's Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act and the U.S. Equal 
Credit Opportunity Act.  
    "We believe this case and the allegations of discrimination 
are without merit," said JPMorgan spokesman Darin Oduyoye. 
    In a decision on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Sean Cox 
rejected the bank's motion to dismiss the lawsuit, finding 
discrimination was a plausible explanation for why the bank 
"unilaterally terminated" more than 30 profitable accounts held 
by the Mannis.  
    The judge noted the family's claims that other 
Arab-Americans had complained of similar account closures. 
    JPMorgan had argued that its deposit agreements permitted it 
to close accounts "at any time for any reason or no reason" and 
said there was no evidence of discrimination.  
    The Mannis, who state in their complaint that they are of 
Arab and Chaldean descent, own Michigan-based JM Adjustment 
Services. They claim they previously had $5 million deposited 
with JPMorgan.  
    JM Adjustment also provided services to JPMorgan until its 
contract was terminated in 2015. In their lawsuit, the Mannis 
claim JPMorgan told Najah the arrangement was ending because he 
posed a "reputational risk" to their business. 
    The Mannis had plausibly claimed the bank's explanation for 
the termination might be a pretext for discrimination, Cox said. 
    The Manni family is represented by former Michigan U.S. 
Senator Carl Levin, now a lawyer at Detroit's Honigman Miller 
Schwarz & Cohn in Detroit. Levin could not immediately be 
reached for comment. 
    A number of Arab-American groups have complained of sudden 
account closures in recent years. In 2013, the Arab-American 
Civil Rights League filed a proposed class action against 
Huntington National Bank, part of Ohio-based Huntington 
Bancshares  HBAN.O , over the issue. The case is still pending, 
with a settlement conference set for August. 
    The JPMorgan case is: JM Adjustment Services et al v 
JPMorgan Chase Bank, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of 
Michigan, No 16-cv-10630 
 
 (Reporting By Dena Aubin; Editing by Anthony Lin and David 
Gregorio) 
 ((dena.aubin@thomsonreuters.com; 646 223 6325; Reuters 
Messaging: dena.aubin.reuters.com@thomsonreuters.net)) 
 
Keywords: JPM LAWSUIT/
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