The FDIC closed took control of eight more banks this past Friday night, bringing the 2010 total of failed banks to 118. The eight closures is the largest single day total since April 16, 2010. The pace of closures remains well ahead of last year’s closure rate – the FDIC did not reach its 118th closure in 2009 until November. The FDIC is on pace for 180 bank closures this year, compared to 140 in 2009.


There have now been 283 bank failures since January 1, 2008. The state with the largest number of closures during that period is Georgia, with 41. However, during 2010, the state with the highest number of bank closures is Florida, with 22 bank failures this year and 38 since January 2008 (which ranks second overall). Two of the banks that closed this past Friday night were based in Florida.


One of the banks closed on Friday was in Illinois, which has the second highest number of bank closures in 2010 (15), and is the third highest since 2008 with 37. Four of the banks that closed this past Friday were based in California, which now has 10 bank closures in 2010, and 32 overall.


Those four states – Georgia, Florida, Illinois and California – account for 148 (52%) of the banks that have closed since January 1, 2008, and 58 (49%) of the 2010 bank closures.


Of the 118 bank closures in 2010, 97 (82%) had assets of less than $1 billion. 27 (23%) had assets under $100 million. Overall, since January 1, 2008, 225 (79.5%) of the failed banks have had assets under $1billion, with 56 (19.7%) under $100 million. There have already been more closures of banks with assets of under $100 million in 2010 (27) than in all of 2009 (24).


39 States and Puerto Rico have all had at least one bank closed in since January 1, 2008. The states that have not had any banks closed during that period are: Alaska, Delaware, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Vermont. So – small states, new states, northeastern and upper plains states, and, inexplicably, Tennessee.


Morgan Stanley Subprime Mortgage-Related Lawsuit Dismissed: On August 17, 2010, Southern District of New York Judge Laura Taylor Swain granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss a securities class action lawsuit filed on behalf of purchasers of mortgage pass-through certificates sold by 31 Morgan Stanley trusts. In her opinion, Judge Swain held that lead plaintiff, which had bought shares in only one of the trusts, lacked standing to assert claims in connection with the other thirty, and that the claims in connection with the trust certificates it had purchased were time barred.


Judge Swain’s dismissal as the 30 trusts in which the lead plaintiff had not bought shares was with prejudice; however, the dismissal as to the trust in which the plaintiff had purchased shares was without prejudice, as plaintiffs were given leave to replead as to those allegations.


Andrew Longstreth’s August 20, 2010 Am Law Litigation Daily article about the decision can be found here. I have added the ruling to my running tally of subprime and credit crisis-related lawsuit dismissal motion rulings, which can be found here.


All the World’s a Stage: Michael Maslanka, a Dallas-based labor lawyer wrote an interesting August 20, 2010 Texas Lawyer column entitled "What Can Lawyers Learn From ‘Othello’" (here), in which he examines the lessons for lawyers exemplified in the play’s two lead male characters, Othello and Iago.


For those readers unfamiliar with the play, Iago manipulates Othello into believing that his wife, Desdemona, has been false with him by having an affair with Cassio. In a jealous rage, Othello kills Desdemona, though it is a heart-breaking scene for the audience, not only because Desdemona has been falsely accused, but also because Othello clearly still loves her.


Maslanka’s analysis extracts some important lessons from the play. From Iago’s character, Maslanka draws lessons about the pitfalls of manipulation, and from Othello, he draws lessons about rationalization.


Though Maslanka’s analysis is perceptive, there is another character in the play whose role may have yet another and perhaps more important lesson. The character is Iago’s wife, Emilia, who is Desdemona’s attendant and friend. In a peculiarly modern twist, Amelia plays the role of whistleblower, by revealing – at hazard to her own life — Iago’s falsity and proving Desdemona’s innocence.


Emilia’s role, though relatively small, is crucial, for without her brave willingness to protect Desdemona’s innocence and reveal Iago’s perfidy, Iago’s nefarious scheme might have gone undetected.


Emilia has a special role in Shakespearean literature for the speech she delivers at the end of Act IV, Scene iii, in which she recognizes the centrality of the struggle between men and women, a struggle for which she places the responsibility squarely on the men – "I do think it is their husbands’ fault." Her observations seem particularly apt in a play where both male leads murder their wives, both of whom are innocent, in the play’s final act.