Justia Antitrust & Trade Regulation Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Securities Law
In re Platinum and Palladium Antitrust Litigation
Plaintiffs are participants in the physical and derivatives markets for platinum and palladium and seek monetary and injunctive relief for violations of the antitrust laws and the Commodities Exchange Act (“CEA”). According to Plaintiffs, Defendants—mostly foreign companies engaged in trading these metals—manipulated the benchmark prices for platinum and palladium by collusively trading on the futures market to depress the price of these metals and by abusing the process for setting the benchmark prices. Defendants allegedly benefited from this conduct via trading in the physical markets and holding short positions in the futures market. The district court held that it had personal jurisdiction over two of the foreign Defendants, but it dismissed Plaintiffs’ antitrust claims for lack of antitrust standing and the Plaintiffs’ CEA claims for being impermissibly extraterritorial. Plaintiffs appealed the dismissal of these claims. The Second Circuit reversed in part, vacated in part, and affirmed in part. The court reversed the district court’s holding that the “Exchange Plaintiffs” lacked antitrust standing to sue for the manipulation of the New York Mercantile Exchange futures market in platinum and palladium. The court explained that as traders in that market, the Exchange Plaintiffs are the most efficient enforcers of the antitrust laws for that injury. But the court affirmed the district court’s conclusion that KPFF Investment, Inc. did not have antitrust standing. Additionally, the court vacated the district court’s dismissal of Plaintiffs’ CEA claims. View "In re Platinum and Palladium Antitrust Litigation" on Justia Law
Federal Trade Commission v. Steven J. Dorfman
The Federal Trade Commission (the “Commission”) alleges that Defendant and his six companies engaged in unfair or deceptive business practices in violation of Section 5(a) of the Federal Trade Commission Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule. Relying on its authority under Section 13(b) of the FTC Act, the Commission obtained a preliminary injunction that included an asset freeze and the imposition of a receiver. Defendant argued that the preliminary injunction must be dissolved because a recent Supreme Court decision undermines the Commission’s Section 13(b) authority. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the order denying Defendant’s emergency motion to dissolve the preliminary injunction. The court explained that Defendant urged the court to read AMG Capital as a signal to interpret the FTC Act with a view to “reigning in the FTC’s power.” But, the court wrote, that AMG Capital teaches the court to read the FTC Act to “mean what it says.” 141 S. Ct. at 1349. In AMG Capital, that meant limiting Section 13(b)’s provision for a “permanent injunction” to injunctive relief. Here, that means recognizing the broad scope of relief available under Section 19. When the Commission enforces a rule, Section 19 grants the district court jurisdiction to offer relief “necessary to redress injury to consumers.” To preserve funds for consumers, the Commission sought to freeze Defendant’s assets and impose a receivership over his companies. Section 19 allows such relief. View "Federal Trade Commission v. Steven J. Dorfman" on Justia Law
In re: Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC
Defendants JABA Associates LP and its general partners appealed the district court’s judgment granting summary judgment to Plaintiff, (“Trustee”), pursuant to the Securities Investor Protection Act of 1970 (“SIPA”). JABA was a good faith customer of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (“BLMIS”) and held BLMIS Account Number 1EM357 (the “JABA Account”). The Trustee brought this action to recover the allegedly fictitious profits transferred from BLMIS to Defendants in the two years prior to BLMIS’s filing for bankruptcy. The district court granted recovery of $2,925,000 that BLMIS transferred to Defendants in the two years prior to BLMIS’s filing for bankruptcy, which made it recoverable property under SIPA.Defendants appealed the district court’s grant of summary judgment. The Second Appellate District affirmed reasoning that because is no genuine dispute of material fact that Bernard L. Madoff transferred the assets of his business to Defendants, which made it recoverable property under SIPA, the district court properly granted summary judgment to Plaintiff. The court reasoned that here Here, Defendants argue that the Bankruptcy Code does not authorize an award of prejudgment interest because the statute is silent. Yet Defendants do not make any argument that this silence is dispositive. Further, the court wrote that prejudgment interest has been awarded against other similarly situated defendants in related SIPA litigation. Thus, the district court appropriately balanced the equities between the parties. Given this, the district court did not abuse its discretion in granting an award of 4 percent prejudgment interest to the Trustee. View "In re: Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC" on Justia Law
Noto v. 22nd Century Grp.
Plaintiffs, investors in 22nd Century Group, alleged on behalf of an investor class that (1) Defendants engaged in an illegal stock promotion scheme in which they paid authors to write promotional articles about the company while concealing the fact that they paid the authors for the articles; and (2) Defendants failed to disclose an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) into the company’s financial control weaknesses. Plaintiffs alleged they were harmed after public articles revealed the promotion scheme and stock prices fell. The district court dismissed the complaint for failing to state a claim. On appeal, Plaintiffs argued (1) they adequately alleged material misrepresentations sufficient to sustain claims under SEC Rule 10b-5; (2) their claim under Section 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act was premised on a valid predicate violation of Section 10(b); and (3) the district court erred in dismissing the complaint with prejudice. The Second Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part. On the first and second points, the court agreed that the allegation that Defendants failed to disclose the SEC investigation states a material misrepresentation and could also support Section 20(a) liability. However, the court found no merit in the remaining challenges. The court reasoned that because the complaint does not adequately allege that Defendants had a duty to disclose that they paid for the articles’ publication, Plaintiffs fail to state a claim that the existence of the stock promotion scheme constituted a materially misleading omission. View "Noto v. 22nd Century Grp." on Justia Law
Legacy Res., Inc. v. Liberty Pioneer Energy Source, Inc.
Legacy Resources, Inc. brought several claims against Liberty Pioneer Energy Source, Inc. The district court dismissed Legacy's breach of contract and trade secret claims on summary judgment, determining (1) Legacy violated the securities laws by acting as an unlicensed broker in recruiting investors on behalf of Liberty; and (2) Legacy's securities violations rendered its contract unenforceable under Utah Code 61-1-22(8). The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the undisputed facts sustained the conclusion that Legacy acted as an unlicensed broker, which violation foreclosed the enforcement of one of its contracts; but (2) another of Legacy's contracts was not implicated by the securities violation, and thus the district court erred by granting summary judgment on Legacy's claim under that contract, along with its trade secret claim. View "Legacy Res., Inc. v. Liberty Pioneer Energy Source, Inc." on Justia Law
Mayor and City Council of Baltimore v. Citigroup, Inc.
Plaintiffs in this consolidated action sought relief on behalf of two large putative classes - one whose members bought auction rate securities and one whose members issued them - alleging that defendants triggered the market's collapse by conspiring with each other to simultaneously stop buying auction rate securities for their own proprietary accounts. The district court dismissed plaintiffs' complaints pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). The court affirmed, holding that plaintiffs' complaints did not successfully allege a violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. 1. Although the court did not reach the district court's implied-repeal analysis under Credit Suisse Securities (USC) LLC v. Billing, the district court was ultimately correct that the complaints failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.View "Mayor and City Council of Baltimore v. Citigroup, Inc." on Justia Law