DOJ secures another stay extension in Forex benchmark rate fixing case

In the face of the plaintiffs’ objections, the testamentary discovery stay is extended to July 1, 2019.

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has managed to secure another extension of the discovery stay in a Forex benchmark rate fixing case targeting some of the world’s major banks like Citi, HSBC and JPMorgan. 

On Monday, April 1, 2019, Judge Lorna G. Schofield of the New York Southern District Court granted the DOJ’s request to extend the discovery stay. The Court order stays the testamentary discovery until July 1, 2019, and allows the Department to apply for an extension at that time if the stay continues to be necessary.

The Court has been apparently unconvinced by the arguments raised by the plaintiffs in this case, who have objected to the DOJ’s request.

The plaintiffs argued that this is the 7th stay sought by the DOJ, a piecemeal lingchi (a death by thousand cuts – Ed.) resulting in the substantial and unnecessary prejudice to the plaintiffs.

The reasons given for the stay – that there is a pending appeal and a trial in other cases, the plaintiffs note, does not even attempt to tell this Court how the DOJ would be prejudiced in any way by allowing the plaintiffs to take the depositions. Further, the DOJ is said to have no legal right to stall, delay, and hinder these plaintiffs from the prosecution of their case.

The plaintiffs also argued that the prejudice to them – that the four-year delay in their case risks losing witnesses is real – is not in any way countered by any perceived prejudice to the DOJ.

The case captioned Nypl v. JP Morgan Chase & Co. et al (1:15-cv-09300) was brought on behalf of a putative class of consumers and end-user businesses alleging that they paid inflated Forex rates caused by an alleged conspiracy among the defendant banks to fix prices of FX benchmark rates in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act, 15 U.S.C. sec. 1 et seq.