| NEW YORK, Sept 4
NEW YORK, Sept 4 U.S. lawyers spearheading an
antitrust lawsuit accusing Wall Street banks and commodity
merchants of manipulating aluminum prices will continue to fight
the case even though it was dismissed last week by a U.S. judge.
Battling one of the most complex legal actions of his
30-plus-year career, one of three co-lead counsels Christopher
Lovell said on Thursday they plan to replead their case by the
Sept. 19 deadline set by U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest
The three attorneys represent eight small U.S. aluminum
consumers, which allege Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase &
Co and Glencore conspired to drive up prices by
One of the companies, Superior Extrusion, filed the first
case in August last year, triggering over two dozen other
companies to follow suit in what has become the highest profile
legal action to rock the base metals market in two decades.
In an 85-page ruling last Friday that struck a big blow to
their case, Judge Forrest said the plaintiffs did not show
sufficient evidence that the banks and merchants intended to
She did concede that the defendants' actions had driven up
prices of aluminum, which is used to make beverage cans and
But Forrest, who is a former antitrust lawyer and previously
worked as an antitrust enforcer at the U.S. Justice Department,
has set a high bar for what she will accept in any repleading of
"This is much more complex than other antitrust cases," said
Lovell, partner at New York law firm Lovell Stewart Halebian
Jacobson who has fought more than a dozen antitrust and
price-fixing commodity cases in a 30-plus-year career.
The judge has blocked two other groups of plaintiffs in the
class-action suit - commercial end users and consumer end users
- from repleading as they lacked antitrust standing. They can
appeal her the decision though.
Attorneys representing them did not return calls.
Legal experts say plaintiffs in all antitrust cases have had
a steeper hill to climb since a 2007 ruling by the U.S. Supreme
Court required that they show in the early stages of litigation
some evidence of a conspiracy to reduce competition.
Chris Sagers, a professor at Cleveland State University who
specializes in antitrust law, said the odds of a successful
appeal "aren't great."
Companies represented by Lovell as well as attorneys from
Grant & Eisenhofer and Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd include:
Ampal Inc, Custom Aluminum Inc, Extruded Aluminum Corp,
International Extrusions Inc, Superior Extrusions Inc, Peterson
Industries Inc, Pierce Aluminum Co, and Thule Inc.
Mag Instrument Inc and Agfa Corp did not consolidate their
claims with the others, but are allowed to replead.
Their lawyer, Christopher Burke, said last Friday his
clients plan to replead their cases.
The case is In re: Aluminum Warehousing Antitrust
Litigation, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York,
(Additional reporting by David Ingram; editing by Andrew Hay)