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Judge Dismissing Louis Dreyfus Commodities Manipulation Lawsuit

Louis Dreyfus

U.S. Judge Andrew Carter changed his tune from an earlier hearing and dismissed a claim brought under the Sherman anti-trust Act in a lawsuit against Netherlands-based Louis Dreyfus Commodities BV over alleged manipulation of cotton prices, Reuters reports. In 2011, cotton prices rose the highest amount since before the U.S. Civil War, and plaintiffs accuse Louis Dreyfus “uneconomically” paying too much for cotton and forcing deliveries “that could have been satisfied more cheaply in the cash market.”

There is a possibility that the case could be dismissed entirely. The judge accepted both claims under the Sherman act in an earlier decision, but more recently, rejected one. While he did not dismiss the rest of the claims, including one that the company violated the Commodities Exchange Act, the judge warned the plaintiffs that they faced a “delicate factual balance” with other claims, and said certain factors could deal a “swift and fatal blow, ” to the plaintiff’s case.

On October 21st, the judge will allow the examination of documents and depositions in the possibility of dismissing the lawsuit ahead of the plaintiff’s motion to certify the class action. The suit was launched by Mark Allen, former commodities trader for Louis Dreyfus’ rival Glencore Xstrata. Allen lost his job in 2011 after Glencore lost $300 million.

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