U.S. judge dismisses aluminum price-fixing litigation – by Jonathan Stempel (Reuters U.S. – October 5, 2016)


NEW YORK – A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed nationwide litigation by aluminum purchasers who accused banks and commodity companies of conspiring to drive up prices for the metal by reducing supply, forcing them to overpay.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan halts, for now, three years of litigation against Goldman Sachs Group Inc, JPMorgan Chase & Co, mining company Glencore Plc, and various commodity trading, mining and metals warehousing companies.

Purchasers had accused the defendants of colluding from 2009 to 2012 to manipulate prices by hoarding inventory. They claimed that this caused delays of up to 16 months to fill orders, leading to higher storage costs, which in turn inflated aluminum prices and the cost of producing cabinets, flashlights, soft drink cans, strollers and other goods.

In August, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan upheld Forrest’s dismissal two years earlier of antitrust claims by “indirect” commercial end users and consumer end users.

Applying that ruling, Forrest on Wednesday said related claims by “first level” purchasers, which she allowed to go forward in March 2015, must also be dismissed.

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