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Saturday, August 30, 2014
Aluminum Warehousing Antitrust Suits Dismissed by Judge
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Glencore Plc (GLEN)and other firms won dismissal of lawsuits accusing them of restricting aluminum supplies in a conspiracy to drive up prices.
U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest today threw out the antitrust claims by buyers of aluminum and aluminum products, finding they hadn’t shown the defendants acted together to increase prices.
The complaints filed by the aluminum purchasers showed that “this was an unintended consequence of rational profit maximizing behavior rather than the product of conspiratorial design,” Forrest said in her written opinion.
Forrest also ruled that a group of commercial and consumer end-users of aluminum lacked the legal standing to make their antitrust claims, saying they can’t refile them. She gave the other plaintiffs in the case permission to try to file new complaints.
Today’s ruling doesn’t affect a group of antitrust claims targeting alleged price-fixing in the gold and silver markets. In those cases, plaintiffs claim banks manipulated a benchmark used to set prices throughout the gold and silver markets.
Dozens of makers of porch screens, flashlights and other products that contain aluminum sued beginning in August 2013 over claims the metal was being hoarded in Detroit-area warehouses, triggering delays of as long as 16 months in filling orders. Forrest said today that price increases were the unintended result of traders and warehouses trying to maximize their own profits.
Forrest dismissed claims this week against the London Metal Exchange on the ground that it functions as an arm of the U.K. government and is protected by sovereign immunity.