21 January 2015

Law in Plain English: Gelboim v. Bank of America Corporation

This is one in a series of posts designed to describe court decisions in plain English. For more detail and background on the legal issues, see the link to the case below. For similar posts, click here.

SCOTUSblogGelboim v. Bank of America Corporation

Argument: Dec 9 2014 (Aud.)

Background: Ellen Gelboim filed a lawsuit against Bank of America and other financial institutions alleging that they colluded to manipulate the London Interbank Offer Rate (LIBOR), a daily interest rate benchmark that is used to help set the interest rate of financial transactions across the globe. Gelboim’s case was consolidated with a number of other similar cases (four from the Southern District of New York, and three from the Northern District of Illinois) in New York for pre-trial purposes. During the pre-trail phase, the district court dismissed a number of the cases, including Gelboim’s, for failure to state a claim. Gelboim appealed, but the Second Circuit dismissed Gelboim’s appeal and held that it lacked jurisdiction over the appeal because the district court had not entered a final order concerning all the claims in the consolidated action.

Issue: The question before the Court is whether and in what circumstances the dismissal of an action that has been consolidated with other suits is immediately appealable.

Holding: In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the order dismissing the case in its entirety removed Gelboim from the consolidated proceeding, thereby triggering his right to appeal under §1291.
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