J. Edward Lumbard

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Joseph Edward Lumbard Jr. (August 18, 1901 – June 3, 1999) was a United States federal judge.

Lumbard was born in Harlem, New York City. He attended DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx. In 1920, while an undergraduate Harvard University, he was expelled by its "Secret Court" of 1920 for associating with a group of homosexuals, including his roommate.[1] He was readmitted a year later and graduated from Harvard in 1922 and from Harvard Law School in 1925. For a time, he also attended Fordham Law School.

During the 1920s and 1930s, Lumbard served as an Assistant United States Attorney in New York from 1925–27 and several stints as well as a Special Assistant Attorney General of New York between 1928 and 1942. He served as an assistant campaign manager for Thomas E. Dewey's unsuccessful campaign for President in 1944. He then spent two decades as a lawyer in private practice in Manhattan. He was a Justice, Supreme Court of New York in 1947. From 1953 to 1955, Lumbard served under as United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

In 1955, President Eisenhower nominated Lumbard as a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, headquartered in New York. Lumbard served as an active judge for 16 years, including 12 years (1959–71) as Chief Judge. He took senior status in 1971, continuing to hear cases on a reduced schedule for the rest of his life. During these years, he also frequently served by designation hearing cases as a judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

In 1974, Chief Justice Warren E. Burger named him to the Special Court of Appeals responsible for appointing independent counsels. He held the appointment until 1980.

In the early days of World War II, he assisted his law partner William J. Donovan in setting up the Office of Strategic Services (which later became the Central Intelligence Agency). He was also considered for a seat on the United States Supreme Court. He served on the Special Court of Appeals. President Nixon considered naming him special prosecutor in the Watergate scandal before naming Archibald Cox.[2]

In 1959, he was appointed to the Harvard Board of Overseers and served for ten years.[1] From 1964 to 1968, He was chairman of the American Bar Association's Committee to Develop Minimum Standards for Criminal Justice. In 1968, he was awarded the A.B.A.'s Gold Medal for his contributions to justice administration.[3]

Lumbard died in 1999 in Fairfield, Connecticut. His chamber papers are archived at Harvard Law School, but have not yet[when?] been processed and opened for research.

Modern Settings v. Prudential[edit]

One landmark decision penned by Lumbard was Modern Settings v. Prudential (1991), which dealt with a dispute between an investor and a broker over alleged unauthorized trading.[4]

The customer agreement between the parties provided "Reports of the execution of orders and statements of my account shall be conclusive if not objected to within five days and ten days, respectively, after transmittal to me (Modern Settings) by mail or otherwise."

Lumbard held that such a contract clause is presumptively enforceable. It is reasonable to require that a customer memorialize his objections so courts will not become a forum for endless swearing contests between brokers and customers.

On the other hand, he allowed for the possibility of the invalidity of such a clause in some cases. "There will be instances where a disparity in sophistication between a brokerage firm and its customer will warrant a flexible application of such written notice clauses.... Similarly, we do not foreclose the possibility that a broker may be estopped from raising a defense based on the written notice clause if the broker's own assurances of deceptive acts forestall the customer's filing of their required written complaint."


  1. ^ a b Wright, William (2005). Harvard's Secret Court: The Savage 1920 Purge of Campus Homosexuals. New York, NY: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-32271-2. 
  2. ^ Gormley, Ken (1997). Archibald Cox: Conscience of a Nation. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. p. 248. ISBN 0-201-40713-2. 
  3. ^ Ravo, Nick (June 7, 1999). "J. Edward Lumbard Jr., 97, Judge and Prosecutor, Is Dead". New York Times. Retrieved December 17, 2009. 
  4. ^ Justia.com : Modern Settings v. Prudential, May 6, 1991, accessed April 18, 2011

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
John Marshall Harlan II
Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Succeeded by
William Hughes Mulligan