January 30, 2015 Practice Points

SCOTUS: Dismissal of a Single Case in an MDL Is Immediately Appealable

The case is Gelboim v. Bank of America Corp.

by Manfred Muecke

On January 21, 2015, the United States Supreme Court reversed and remanded a Second Circuit ruling that denied plaintiffs the right to immediately appeal the district court’s dismissal of their class action, which was included in the In re Libor-Based Financial Instruments Anti-Trust Litigation multidistrict litigation (LIBOR MDL). Gelboim v. Bank of America Corp., Case. No. 13-1174, 574 U.S. ___ (2015).  Authoring a unanimous Court opinion, Justice Ginsburg reasoned that the dismissal of a sole claim effects a release from the MDL proceedings and enables the dismissed plaintiffs the right to an immediate appeal under 28 U.S.C. §1291. Slip Op. at *6–10.

Plaintiffs Gelboim and Zacher had filed a class action complaint (the “Gelboim-Zacher action”) against several banks alleging an antitrust claim under §1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. §1. The Gelboim-Zacher action was one of 60 complaints lodged against the banks alleging that they had manipulated the London Interchange Bank Official Rate (LIBOR) through the systematic understatement of borrowing costs. Whereas other actions alleged numerous causes of action, the Gelboim-Zacher action was distinct in that it alleged a single antitrust claim. Under 20 U.S.C. §1407, the Joint Panel of Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) transferred all the actions to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York for coordination and consolidation. In re Libor-Based Financial Instruments Anti-Trust Litigation, 802 F. Supp. 2d 1380.

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