The University of California joined other former Enron shareholders last week to appeal their $40 billion lawsuit against several banks and officers they feel had some connection with the 2001 Enron scandal.
The shareholders filed a petition Thursday asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case after the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals did not find the banks liable for fraud because, according to a UC press release, the banks did not make any false statements.
The class-action suit was originally scheduled for trial this month in a district court, but its progress was halted after the court of appeals’ opinion overturned a decision by a Houston district judge who determined that the case was appropriate for class action. No new court date has been set.
The remaining defendants in the case who have not yet settled with the UC and other investors are Barclays Bank, Credit Suisse First Boston and Merrill Lynch, as well as several former Enron officers, including the CEO, chief accounting officer, treasurer, chief risk officer and executive vice president of investor relations.
The court of appeals’ decision also said the class-action nature of the suit puts added pressure on the banks to settle, even if they have a good chance of succeeding in court.
The UC, which is the main plaintiff in the case, has already helped secure more than $7.3 billion for the Enron investors through settlements with Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Lehman Brothers, Bank of America, Enron’s outside directors and Andersen Worldwide.
Enron – once the country’s seventh-largest company – filed for bankruptcy in December 2001 after it could no longer hide its billions of dollars in debt status. The company was accused of hiding its debt by doctoring accounting records and making failing ventures appear profitable.