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Panel debates merging LME, Goldman suits

Keywords: Tags  U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, lawsuits, LME, London Metal Exchange, Goldman Sachs Group, Superior Extrusion, lawsuits, antitrust suit trial venue

NEW YORK — The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation is deciding whether to consolidate a number of lawsuits filed against Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and the London Metal Exchange.

If it decides to consolidate the lawsuits, the panel will also make a decision on where the case is heard (, Oct. 15).

At a hearing held on Dec. 5 in Las Vegas, a lawyer representing a number of plaintiffs, including aluminum consumer Superior Extrusion Inc., asked to transfer lawsuits filed in Florida, Louisiana and Michigan to a U.S. District Court in eastern Michigan for coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings.

Christopher Lovell, a partner at New York-based law firm Lovell Stewart Halebian Jacobson LLP, told AMM that he had argued for all the lawsuits to be consolidated in Detroit.

Detroit is the largest LME storage location for Goldman Sachs’ warehouse subsidiary, Metro International Trade Services LLC.

The LME, meanwhile, argued that the venue for any future consolidated lawsuit hearings should be the U.S. District Court in southern New York, Lovell said.

New York-based Goldman Sachs did not argue a preference at the hearing.

Goldman Sachs and the LME are being sued by a number of companies and individuals for allegedly manipulating the aluminum market through price fixing and deliberately restraining the flow of material exiting LME-listed warehouses. At least six antitrust lawsuits have been filed over the past month (, Nov. 25).

Both Goldman and the LME said the allegations are without merit and will be vigorously contested.

Gwinn, Mich.-based Superior Extrusion Inc. filed its lawsuit in Michigan (, Aug. 2).

Similar complaints naming Goldman, other banks and trading companies, the LME or unnamed "John Does" have been filed by Jacksonville, Fla.-based Master Screens Inc. and individual plaintiff Daniel Price Bart (, Aug. 7); South Elgin, Ill.-based Custom Aluminum Products Inc.; Reserve, La.-based River Parish Contractors Inc. (, Aug. 9); Lewisville, Texas-based Viva Railings LLCs and Howell, Mich.-based Regal Recycling Inc.; and Monticello, Ark.-based boat builder Team Ward Inc., which does business as War Eagle Boats (, Aug. 13).

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