Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association v. Bank of America Corporation et al.

Court: United States District Court of the Central District of California (consolidated/transferred to the multi-district litigation pending in the United States District Court - Southern District of New York, Judge Naomi R. Buchwald, for pre-trial purposes only
Case Number: 12-CV-10903-CAS-AJW
Judge: Christina A. Snyder
Class Period: 1/1/2005 – 12/31/2010
Case Contacts: David R. Stickney, Benjamin Galdston, Lucas E. Gilmore

This action arises from a global scheme by the international banks that contribute to the setting of the London Interbank Offering Rate (“LIBOR”), a benchmark interest rate referenced in trillions of dollars in financial instruments and transactions worldwide, to manipulate and artificially suppress LIBOR for at least six years between 2005 and 2010 in order to reap enormous profits and to misrepresent their own financial condition.  Plaintiff Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association brings this action on behalf of itself and a class of other California persons and entities that held, purchased or otherwise acquired from issuers or market participants other than the Defendants any financial instrument for which the rate of return was based upon USD LIBOR at any time between January 1, 2005 and December 31, 2010 (the “Class Period”) and who were damaged thereby (the “Class”).  The Complaint asserts claims under California’s antitrust statute, the Cartwright Act, and common law unjust enrichment, and claims for violations of the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”).

On December 21, 2012, LACERA filed its Complaint in the United States District Court of the Central District of California.  The Complaint alleges that the Defendants’ concerted unlawful manipulation of LIBOR – conduct that has been exposed through numerous governmental investigations and regulatory enforcement actions – includes admitted efforts both within and among certain banks to manipulate LIBOR during the Class Period.  Thus far, at least three banks have entered into historic settlements totaling more than $2.5 billion to resolve charges of collusive manipulation.  

During the Class Period, LACERA and the Class acquired or held millions of dollars’ worth of LIBOR-based financial instruments from issuers and market participants other than Defendants, which paid artificially low returns as a result of the Defendants’ six-year conspiracy to suppress LIBOR.  Even though Class members did not transact directly with the Defendants, they were nonetheless injured as a foreseeable and proximate result of the Defendants’ fraudulent scheme. 

While Defendants have argued in other LIBOR-related litigation that such “indirect purchases” have no adequate remedy under federal antitrust laws, these claims have been brought under California’s antitrust statute, the Cartwright Act, which provides redress “regardless of whether the injured person dealt directly or directly with the defendant,” in order to compensate Plaintiff and other Class Members for harm caused by Defendants’ fraudulent manipulation of the world’s financial markets.

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