NEW YORK, July 29 A British affiliate of
JPMorgan Chase & Co on Tuesday asked a U.S. judge to
dismiss claims brought against it in nationwide antitrust
litigation over the alleged manipulation of aluminum prices.
In a filing with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Henry
Bath & Son Ltd said it never did business in the United States
nor directed any activity toward the country. So it said the
court lacked jurisdiction to hear claims against it.
Henry Bath said it supports earlier requests by defendants
including its Henry Bath LLC unit, which operates warehouses in
Baltimore, Chicago and New Orleans, to dismiss related claims.
The lawsuit by so-called direct purchaser plaintiffs,
commercial end-user plaintiffs and consumer end-user plaintiffs
accuse JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs Group Inc, their
warehousing units and the London Metal Exchange of conspiring
since May 2009 to drive up aluminum prices by reducing supply.
These plaintiffs said the collusion caused delays, sometimes
referred to as queues, of as long as 16 months to fill orders.
Twenty-six price-fixing lawsuits were consolidated in December
before U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan.
"The complaints do not allege that Henry Bath U.K. has
queues at any warehouse in the world," Henry Bath & Son said.
"Accordingly, even if this court has jurisdiction over Henry
Bath U.K, the complaints should be dismissed for failure to
state a claim."
According to the LME, Henry Bath's 13 LME-registered storage
locations had no queues, while Goldman's Metro International
Trade Services warehouse in Detroit had a more than 22-month
Christopher Lovell, a lawyer for plaintiffs in the case, did
not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In March, JPMorgan agreed to sell its physical commodities
business, including Henry Bath, to Switzerland-based Mercuria
Energy Group Ltd for $3.5 billion. The sale has
yet to close.
The case is In re: Aluminum Warehousing Antitrust
Litigation, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York,
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Cynthia