Judge dismisses juror in Terra Firma trial

Judge Jed Rakoff dismissed a juror Tuesday for discussing the trial a day before closing arguments in Terra Firma's case against Citi.

Judge Jed Rakoff dismissed a female juror Tuesday after learning the woman had discussed the Terra Firma case with other jurors earlier in the day.

Rakoff told the court Tuesday the woman had been overheard talking about the trial to three other jurors. The woman denied having discussed the case, Rakoff said.

Coincidentally, Citi attorney Theodore Wells had already requested the same woman be removed from the jury early Tuesday morning because of her connection to filmmaker Michael Moore's 2009 documentary “Capitalism: A Love Story.” Both the juror and her husband are included in a list of people who are thanked in the film's closing credits, Wells argued.

The removal of the juror doesn't affect the schedule of the case, as the remaining eight jurors will begin deliberations on time Wednesday, according to a source close to Citi. Attorneys for both sides are set to give their final summaries of the case to the jury tomorrow, after which the eight-member panel will begin their deliberations.

Citi will wrap up its defense Wednesday before the start of summations. Terra Firma is suing Citi for damages, claiming it made its £4 billion bid for EMI in 2007 only after Citi banker David Wormsley misled Terra Firma chief executive officer Guy Hands into believing Cerberus Capital Management was still bidding for EMI, when the firm had already dropped out of the bidding.

Judge Rakoff ruled this week that the only claim Terra Firma has for damages in the case is “fraudulent misrepresentation”. A claim for punitive damages was thrown out late Monday night.

“I would have grave doubts that you had made out a claim for punitive damages here,” Judge Rakoff said Monday. “Punitive damages have to have some broader application. It has to in effect threaten in at least some sense the public's good. That's not true here at all. This is a cat fight between two rich companies.”

The only damages the jury will need to compute should it find in favor of Terra Firma, Judge Rakoff said, is the difference between what was paid for EMI and the fair market value of the company.

If the jury decides in favor of the firm, it must determine how much – up to approximately £1.5 billion – the firm deserves.