By Nate Raymond
NEW YORK, March 29 A U.S. judge on Friday
dismissed a "substantial portion" of claims facing a number of
banks in a barrage of lawsuits accusing them of interest-rate
U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in Manhattan ruled
for the banks, which include Bank of America Corp,
JPMorgan Chase & Co and others, of allegedly
manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate, commonly known
The judge granted the banks' motion to dismiss the
plaintiffs' federal antitrust claims and partially dismissed
their claims of commodities manipulation. She also dismissed
racketeering and state-law claims.
The decision is a significant setback for private
plaintiffs, whose lawsuits had been consolidated before the New
York judge as part of a multidistrict litigation proceeding.
In a 161-page opinion, Buchwald said she recognized her
ruling might be "unexpected," since several defendants had paid
billions of dollars in penalties to government regulatory
But she said unlike government agencies, private plaintiffs
needed to meet many requirements under the statutes to bring a
"Therefore, although we are fully cognizant of the
settlements that several of the defendants here have entered
into with government regulators, we find that only some of the
claims that plaintiffs have asserted may properly proceed," she
The lead lawyers for the plaintiffs, Bill Carmody of Susman
Godfrey and Michael Hausfeld of Hausfeld LLP, did not
immediately respond to requests for comment.
More than a dozen banks and brokerages are under
investigation by regulators worldwide for manipulating benchmark
rates such as Libor, which have been the basis for more than
$550 trillion in financial products.
Three banks have reached settlements with authorities to
date. Most recently, Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC
agreed to pay $612 million to U.S. and British authorities. UBS
AG agreed in December to pay $1.5 billion. Barclays
agreed to pay $453 million in June.
Other defendants facing private lawsuits included Citigroup
Inc, Credit Suisse Group AG, Deutsche Bank AG
, HSBC Holdings PLC, Royal Bank of Scotland,
WestLB AG, and Royal Bank of Canada, among others.
Representatives for the various banks either did not
immediately respond to requests for comment or had no immediate
The cases are In Re: Libor-Based Financial Instruments
Antitrust Litigation, U.S. District Court for the Southern
District of New York, No. 11-md-2262.