A group of 16 states has formally objected to JPMorgan Chase's $290 million class-action settlement with Jeffrey Epstein accusers, which they say can limit their ability to seek compensation for sexual abuse victims.
In a letter made public Monday in a Manhattan federal court filing, attorneys general of 16 states and Washington DC said that the language from the settlement prevents "any sovereign or government" from pursuing damages arising from Epstein's sex trafficking operation and the late financier's associates, Reuters reports.
"Jeffrey Epstein's surviving victims should be fully compensated for the profound harm they have suffered," wrote New Mexico Attorney General Raul Torrez. "However, as it now stands, the settlement agreement improperly seeks to release (the states') claims for victim-specific relief."
The AGs noted that a similar $75 million settlement between Deutsche Bank and Epstein accusers did not contain similarly offending language, and that such language without their consent would deter them from seeking damages for sex trafficking victims in general under the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
The attorneys general of Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah and Vermont also signed the letter.
JPMorgan did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Lawyers for Epstein's accusers did not immediately respond to similar requests.
The settlement requires approval by U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff. -Reuters
Last month, JPMorrgan also agreed to pay $75 million to settle related claims brought by the US Virgin Islands, where Epstein's notorious 'pedo island' was located.
The bank has been given until Nov. 6 to address the states' objection, as a hearing to consider final approval is currently scheduled for Nov. 9.