McGraw's Bank of America suit transferred

John O'Brien Feb. 9, 2010, 1:20pm


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Legal Newsline) - West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw's lawsuit against Bank of America has been transferred to a multidistrict litigation proceeding in a New York federal court.

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero will welcome McGraw's antitrust case into the MDL in New York's southern district. The case had been filed in Mason County Circuit Court before being removed to federal court in Charleston.

The complaint against Bank of America alleges it and unnamed conspirators manipulated the municipal bond market.

The MDL panel wrote Feb. 2 that the transfer "will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of the litigation."

The private attorneys McGraw hired to pursue the case argued that it should not be transferred because the suit named only one defendant and dealt only with issues of state law. The panel said there were other at least three similar suits in the MDL.

McGraw hired his brother's nephew to represent the State.

Cook Hall & Lampros of Atlanta is one of three firms representing the State, along with Charleston's Berthold Tiano & O'Dell and DiTrapano Barrett & DiPiero. All three firms have contributed to McGraw's election campaigns.

Edward Shuff Cook is the nephew by marriage of former state Supreme Court Justice Warren McGraw, Darrell's brother. His bio says he has been appointed a special assistant attorney general in several states.

McGraw hired Cook, then at Provost Umphrey, in 2001 for a case involving law firm Steptoe & Johnson.

Employees of the Cook firm and their spouses have donated $20,000 to McGraw since 2004.

Also, the Berthold firm has donated $4,240 since 2004 and the DiTrapano firm, a frequent selection by McGraw to represent the State, donated at least $30,000 in 2004 and $5,050 in 2008.

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