S&C Clients Obtain Dismissal of Antitrust Claims Against Banks Over Treasury Products

April 9, 2021

S&C clients Barclays and Goldman Sachs, along with other major banks and trading platforms, prevailed in their motions to dismiss a putative class action brought by investors in U.S. Treasury products.

Plaintiffs asserted antitrust and unjust enrichment claims based on an alleged manipulation of U.S. Treasury auctions and an alleged group-boycott conspiracy to suppress competition in the U.S. Treasury market by preventing non-broker-dealers from trading with each other on electronic trading platforms.

In his March 31, 2021 ruling, Judge Paul Gardephe of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted defendants' motion to dismiss in its entirety, holding that plaintiffs failed to allege direct or circumstantial evidence of the purported conspiracies.

Among other things, Judge Gardephe rejected plaintiffs' allegation that defendants used their purported control over Tradeweb to cause the trading platform to launch a competing platform, Dealerweb, that supposedly deterred other platforms from allowing access to buy-side investors. Judge Gardephe held that plaintiffs failed to plead adequately that defendants “actually used Dealerweb in an anti-competitive manner or as a means to refuse to deal with any other market participant.”

The team for Barclays included David Braff, Matt Schwartz, and Katy McArthur. The team for Goldman Sachs included Rick Pepperman, Penny Shane and Stephen Ehrenberg. Steven Holley and Amanda Davidoff represented Nomura before it was voluntarily dismissed.