Hogan Lovells obtains SDNY dismissal of putative class action challenging the revamped ICE LIBOR reference rate

New York, 7 April 2020 – Global law firm Hogan Lovells represented Lloyds Bank plc and Lloyds Securities Inc. in the successful defeat of an attempted class action involving the new LIBOR reference rate, obtaining a dismissal of all claims by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

For decades, LIBOR – the world’s leading short-term interest rate reference rate – was administered by the British Bankers’ Association (“BBA”). In the wake of regulatory scrutiny, numerous changes were made to LIBOR. Among other things, in 2013, the LIBOR methodology was significantly changed, and in 2014, ICE Benchmark Administration Limited (“IBA”) was appointed as LIBOR’s new administrator. The revamped “ICE LIBOR” rate continued to be updated over the next few years.

Notwithstanding these changes and government oversight, in January 2019 counsel for some of the plaintiffs who had sued major banks over alleged manipulation of BBA LIBOR commenced an antitrust action. They alleged that IBA, some of its affiliates, and the US Dollar (“USD”) ICE LIBOR panel banks had unlawfully colluded to suppress the USD ICE LIBOR rate for the entirety of its existence.

Other follow-on actions ensued, which were consolidated into a single case. The defendants moved to dismiss the case, contending, among other things, that there was no evidence that the reformed ICE LIBOR rate had been compromised.

On 26 March, District Judge George Daniels issued a decision rejecting the plaintiffs’ claims in full and dismissing their action. Judge Daniels concluded that plaintiffs’ claims were based on “conclusory statements and accusations,” and that there was “no basis to assume, in the absence of any evidence whatsoever, that Defendants ever discussed lowering the [USD ICE LIBOR] rate with one another.

The Hogan Lovells US LLP team that represented defendants Lloyds Bank plc and Lloyds Securities Inc. included partners Marc Gottridge and Lisa Fried, and senior associate Ben Fleming.

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