NY Court allows plaintiffs in Forex benchmark rate fixing case to explain their stance again

Maria Nikolova

Judge Lorna G. Schofield has permitted the plaintiffs in a lawsuit targeting banks like JPMorgan and Citi to explain once again why the complaint should be amended.

Judge Lorna G. Schofield of the New York Southern District Court has agreed to allow plaintiffs in a Forex benchmark rate rigging case to explain once again why their complaint against some of the world’s major banks should be amended.

The lawsuit was brought by Go Everywhere, Inc., Valarie Jolly, Mad Travel, Inc., Lisa McCarthy, John Nypl, and William Rubinsohn. The list of defendants includes JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM), JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., Barclays Capital, Inc., Citibank, N.A., Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C), Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC), Bank of America, N.A, HSBC Bank USA, N.A., and HSBC North America Holdings, Inc. A putative class of consumers and end-user businesses allege that they paid inflated Forex rates caused by an alleged conspiracy among the defendant banks to fix prices of FX benchmark rates in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act, 15 U.S.C. sec. 1 et seq.

The plaintiffs want to amend their complaint to enlarge the scope of the definition of “foreign currency retail transactions”. According to the plaintiffs, “foreign currency retail transactions” should include transactions other than those involving foreign currency purchased with USD and physically received at the defendant banks’ retail branches within the United States, including credit and debit card transactions and ATM cash withdrawals abroad.

On May 20, 2019, the Judge nixed the plaintiffs’ request to amend the complaint. Leave to amend is futile where “the claims the plaintiff [seeks] to add would be barred by the applicable statute of limitations”, the Judge said.

Last week, it became clear that the plaintiffs were not giving up as they filed a request with the Court asking for reconsideration.

The Judge has responded to the plaintiffs’ request via Memo Endorsement. The plaintiffs are allowed to file their letter motion, not to exceed five pages, by May 31, 2019. The defendants shall file their response, not to exceed five pages, by June 7, 2019.

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