(CN) - The Second Circuit upheld a district court ruling that dismissed a New York attorney's complaint against the Securities and Exchange Commission for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
Attorney Steven Altman was banned for life from practicing before the SEC for allegedly conspiring to have his client, a witness in an SEC investigation, paid off. Altman's challenge of the SEC's ban stalled in district court because the Securities and Exchange Act expressly provides that "a person aggrieved by a final SEC order obtains 'review of the order in the United States Court of Appeals for the circuit in which he resides or has his principle place of business, or for the District of Columbia Circuit."
The SEC applied the lifetime ban against Altman pursuant to the New York Rules of Professional Conduct, preventing him from appearing or practicing before the SEC ever gain.
The SEC says it banned Altman because he had "engaged in unethical and improper professional conduct while representing a prospective witness in SEC administrative proceedings, to wit: seeking a financial pay package for his client in exchange for having his client either (1) evade being subpoenaed to appear before the SEC or (2) in the event his client testified, purposely not cooperate or falsely testify to relevant facts."
His claimed that the SEC deprived him of equal protection, due process and acted without "constitutional or statutory authority in sanctioning him based on violations of New York's disciplinary rules."
Altman, according to a footnote in the ruling, challenged the ban in the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
"There he raised essentially the same arguments as those made to the district court here.The D.C. Circuit has now rejected the arguments and affirmed the lifetime ban," the footnote states.
"Review provisions such as this generally preclude de novo review in the district courts, requiring litigants to bring challenges 'in the Court of Appeals or not at all,'" the Second Circuit ruling stated.