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U.S. agrees to delay MetLife SIFI designation appeal

The U.S. government agreed to a 60-day delay before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit addresses its appeal of a court decision that reversed MetLife's designation as a non-bank systemically important financial institution.

MetLife asked the court on April 24 for a longer delay, in light of President Donald Trump's executive order to review the SIFI designation process used by the Financial Stability Oversight Council. That request questioned “whether it is appropriate for the government to continue pressing this appeal,” MetLife lawyer Eugene Scalia, partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, wrote in MetLife's motion.

In the government's response Thursday, Department of Justice attorneys said, “We do not take a position at this time on MetLife's motion to hold the case in abeyance until the report is issued,” but noted that the 60 days will allow FSOC and DOJ officials to complete their deliberations.

Mr. Trump's April 21 order allows 180 days for reviewing the process for designations, which are on hold until it is complete.

MetLife's December 2014 SIFI designation was rescinded in March 2016 by U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary M. Collyer, who said FSOC officials departed from their own standards and failed to consider the costs to MetLife, which brought the case. The government appealed that decision, saying that Ms. Collyer “was profoundly mistaken” about FSOC's process, and that the issues raised in the case affect FSOC's ability to exercise its designation authority.

FSOC members are meeting May 8 in an executive session to discuss the designation process and the White House executive order.