NEW YORK (Reuters) – A federal appeals court on Tuesday revived lawsuits by aluminum purchasers that accused Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, mining company Glencore and other companies of conspiring to drive up prices for the metal by reducing supply.
In a 3-0 decision, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said a federal judge erred in dismissing antitrust claims by “direct” purchasers of aluminum such as Novelis, and by other purchasers including Eastman Kodak, Fujifilm and Reynolds Consumer Products.
Purchasers accused banks and commodity trading, mining and metals warehousing companies of conspiring to hoard aluminum inventory earlier this decade, after prices had declined because industrial activity fell during the global financial crisis.
The purchasers said the alleged conspiracy led to delays in processing orders and higher storage costs, ultimately inflating the cost to produce cabinets, flashlights, soft drink cans, strollers and other goods containing aluminum.
Lawyers for the defendants did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Writing for the appeals court, Circuit Judge Pierre Leval said the purchasers could sue because they claimed to suffer harm in a market that the defendants allegedly restrained, the market to buy and sell primary aluminum.