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High-Level Government "Forget You..." - Freddie Mac Exec Takes Stand for Fifth Amendment Rights

October 21, 2016

ATLANTA, GA/WASHINGTON, DC (Oct. 21, 2016):  Southeastern Legal Foundation, joined by Cato Institute, today filed amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit supporting Anthony Piszel’s pursuit of justice and dedication to the rule of law. 

 

Mr. Piszel was the one-time CFO of Freddie Mac, a private lending organization sponsored by the government to provide stability in the housing market.  He was hired in 2006, and as part of his compensation package he was to receive stocks, incentive-based bonuses, and in the event of termination, a lump-sum payment.  When the federal government bailed-out the banks, it also created the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which subsequently took over Freddie Mac, a private company.  FHFA nearly immediately ordered Freddie Mac to cancel Mr. Piszel’s contract “without cause” and to not pay him the previously lump-sum payment. 

 

Mr. Piszel filed suit alleging that the government took his contractually guaranteed property and thus, violated the Fifth Amendment.  The lower court found Mr. Piszel had no property interest in his contract.  On appeal, a three-judge panel of the Federal Circuit correctly disagreed, holding the Mr. Piszel not only had a contractual property right protected by the Constitution.  However, the court continued and found that Mr. Piszel’s right was not “taken” because he could still sue for breach of contract.   Mr. Piszel has now asked the Federal Circuit for en banc review.  The three-judge panel was wrong and allows the government to terminate private contractual rights in direct violation of the Fifth Amendment.

 

Click here for SLF's amicus brief, Piszel v. U.S., Oct. 21, 2016

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