SDNY Retains Jurisdiction Over Three LIBOR Suits

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On December 30, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York held that three LIBOR suits should remain under federal jurisdiction and denied the plaintiffs’ motions to remand. In Re LIBOR-Based Fin. Instruments Antitrust Litig., No. 11-md-2262, slip op. (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 30, 2013). One of the cases was removed from state court, and the other two were referred by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, to be joined with the numerous consolidated suits that have been brought by investors and bondholders who claim that certain financial institutions colluded to deliberately depress LIBOR, which caused the plaintiffs various economic injuries. LIBOR is a global benchmark rate used in financial products and transactions, which was set using data from the banks under the auspices of the British Bankers’ Association. Focusing on the only disputed element for Edge Act jurisdiction—whether the conduct “arises out of” (i) transactions involving international or foreign banking or (ii) other international or foreign financial operations—the court held that it has federal jurisdiction under the Edge Act. Applying a “common sense” statutory interpretation, the court reasoned that the cases arise out of the financial institutions’ allegedly misleading submissions to the LIBOR panel, which is an international or foreign financial operation, and without which there would be no cases at all. Although it did not need to address the financial institutions’ alternative basis for federal jurisdiction, the court explained that it could also retain jurisdiction under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.