US judge dismisses aluminum price-fixing litigation

Goldman Sachs signage on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Jin Lee | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Goldman Sachs signage on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

A U.S. judge on Friday dismissed nationwide antitrust litigation accusing banks and commodity companies of conspiring to drive up aluminum prices by reducing supply, causing damages for manufacturers and purchasers.

The plaintiffs had accused Goldman Sachs Group Inc, JPMorgan Chase & Co, the large mining company Glencore Plc, and various commodity trading, metals mining and metals warehousing companies of having conspired since May 2009 to drive up aluminum prices by hoarding supply. They said this caused delays of up to 16 months to fill orders.

In an 85-page decision, U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan said that while it was clear that the actions of various defendants affected the aluminum market, there was no showing they intended to manipulate prices.

"As cast in the complaints, this was an unintended consequence of rational profit maximizing behavior rather than the product of conspiratorial design,'' she wrote.

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Forrest said so-called commercial end user and consumer end user plaintiffs could not try to amend their lawsuits because they lacked antitrust standing. She said the other plaintiffs deserved a chance to replead their cases.

—By Reuters