Still, there isn't really anyone on the other side except Bank of America's lawyers, whose arguments can only be found amid untold thousands of pages of court documents.
Many of those arguments are difficult for non legal experts to assess.
For example, Bank of America argues MBIA didn't care the mortgages it was insuring were poorly executed until they dropped dramatically in value. That sounds plausible enough. But whether MBIA did care--and whether it matters if it cared or not--will be up to a judge to determine.
But much of the battle isn't about making coherent arguments as it is about strategic maneuvering. MBIA tries to amend its bonds. Bank of America tries to buy the bonds to block MBIA. MBIA buys some of the bonds to block Bank of America from blocking it. Bank of America argues MBIA's block was improperly executed.
Neither side is sharing its strategy with the public, for fear of tipping its hand, so it's very difficult to know which will prevail.
The analysts--Palmer, Haines and Fong--all believe MBIA is a double or better, and that's probably right if it gets the $3 billion or so they believe it has coming. If they're wrong, however, the downside would likely be severe. It's hard to know, however, without anyone arguing on the other side.
Written by Dan Freed in New York