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In re Aluminum Warehousing Antitrust Litig.

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York

July 23, 2020, Decided; July 23, 2020, Filed

13-md-2481 (PAE); 14-cv-3116 (PAE)

Opinion

OPINION & ORDER

PAUL A. ENGELMAYER, District Judge:

This putative class action involves an alleged violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1, in the form of a conspiracy to inflate prices in the primary aluminum market.1 Specifically, plaintiffs (the "First Level Purchasers" or "FLPs")2 contend that defendants engaged in anticompetitive conduct that increased regional premiums which in turn, by industry convention, form one component of the price for primary physical aluminum.

Before the Court is the First Level Purchasers' motion to certify a class pursuant [*28]  to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3). Also before the Court is the FLPs' motion to exclude the declaration of defendants' expert David P. Kaplan.

For the following reasons, the Court denies the FLPs' class certification and Daubert motions.

I. Background3

A. The Parties

The First Level Purchasers are Ampal, Inc.; Custom Aluminum Products, Inc. ("Custom Aluminum"); Claridge Products and Equipment, Inc.; and Extruded Aluminum Corporation ("Extruded Aluminum"). TAC ¶¶ 44, 53, 60, 67. During the relevant period, each named plaintiff purchased primary aluminum from smelters for physical delivery within the United States. Id. ¶¶ 33-34, 48, 57, 64, 71.

The FLPs bring claims against six sets of defendants, three of which traded in primary aluminum and primary aluminum derivatives on the London Metals Exchange ("LME") during the relevant period (the "Financial Defendants"), and three of which owned and operated LME-certified warehouses [*29]  for the storage of metal (the "Warehousing Defendants"). Id. ¶¶ 85-127; see Aluminum VI, 936 F.3d at 89.

The Financial Defendants are each affiliated with either Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC, J.P. Morgan Securities plc, or Glencore Ltd. Each group of Financial Defendants directly or indirectly acquired one of the Warehousing Defendants in 2010, during a glut in the aluminum market following the 2008 financial crisis. See TAC ¶¶ 86, 104, 125, 464.

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2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130608 *; 2020-2 Trade Cas. (CCH) P81,302

IN RE ALUMINUM WAREHOUSING ANTITRUST LITIGATION. This Document Relates To: In re Aluminum Warehousing Antitrust Litigation (Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs), No. 14-cv-3116-PAE (S.D.N.Y.)

Prior History: In re Aluminum Warehousing Antitrust Litig., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119074 (S.D.N.Y., Aug. 25, 2014)

CORE TERMS

aluminum, warehouses, queues, Premium, certification, conspiracy, load-out, Reply, antitrust, classwide, reliable, metal, smelters, cancellations, predominance, methodology, all-in, estimated, loaded, tons, Sur-Reply, chain, delivery, lengthening, traders, spot, inflated, Warehousing, customers, offset