| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Feb 13 A U.S. federal judge has chosen
the law firm Scott+Scott LLP to serve as interim lead counsel in
a consolidated class action against many of the world's largest
banks alleging manipulation of the roughly $5.3 trillion-a-day
foreign exchange market.
At a hearing on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Lorna
Schofield of Manhattan chose Scott+Scott over three other groups
of plaintiffs' law firms seeking the lead spot.
In class actions, the firm serving as lead counsel is often
responsible for making key decisions in prosecuting a case and
stands to make the most money if a case is successful.
Scott+Scott, which is headquartered in Connecticut and has
offices in New York, Ohio and California, has 33 lawyers,
according to its website.
The other groups of firms seeking the lead counsel position
have more lawyers but Schofield suggested she was concerned
about inefficiencies and the availability of senior lawyers at
those firms to spend on the case.
"I think that a having a smaller firm that can draw on other
firms as needed can best serve the class," she said.
Over the last few months, several lawsuits have been filed
against major banks, such as Deutsche Bank, Citigroup
, Barclays, UBS, HSBC,
JPMorgan Chase & Co, and Royal Bank of Scotland.
The lawsuits claim that the banks violated federal antitrust
law when their senior traders allegedly shared sensitive market
information in chat rooms to execute a variety of strategies to
move key benchmark rates.
The lawsuits allege collusion that allowed the banks to
profit at the expense of their customers.
The lawsuits seek class action status on behalf of
investors, institutions and others affected by the alleged
manipulation. One of the lawsuits claims that the class could
include thousands of currency traders who lost value on tens of
thousands of transactions, "resulting in potentially billions of
dollars in damages."
The litigation has been spurred on by government
investigations around the globe. Those probes, the lawsuits
note, have identified senior foreign exchange traders at banks
who were known in Bloomberg chat rooms as "The Cartel" and "The
Schofield said she would order the Scott+Scott firm to file
a consolidated complaint near the end of March. She has set a
March 3 conference to address when the plaintiffs will be able
to receive documents from the defendants.