Plaintiffs in Forex benchmark rate rigging case ask Court to reconsider stance on complaint

Maria Nikolova

The plaintiffs in a case targeting some of the world’s major banks want the Court to reconsider its denial of their request to amend the complaint.

Shortly after Judge Lorna G. Schofield of the New York Southern District Court denied a request by the plaintiffs in a Forex benchmark rate rigging case to amend their complaint, it has become clear that the plaintiffs are not giving up.

On May 23, 2019, counsel for Go Everywhere, Inc., Valarie Jolly, Mad Travel, Inc., Lisa McCarthy, John Nypl, William Rubinsohn (plaintiffs in this case) filed a Letter with the New York Southern District Court.

The Letter says:

“Dear Judge Schofield,

The Nypl Plaintiffs respectfully request leave of court to file a letter motion of seven pages for reconsideration of this Court’s Order of May 20, 2019 in which the Court denied leave to amend the Third Amended Complaint on the ground of the statute of limitations”.

Let’s recall that this 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 “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.

There is a four year statute of limitations for actions brought under the Sherman Act. Because this action is limited to claims that accrued on or before December 31, 2013, the statute of limitations for all claims expired on December 31, 2017 at the latest. Hence, the plaintiffs’ request, filed in January 2019, was found to be untimely and was denied.

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