Earlier today, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider whether a group of investors whose antitrust claims regarding the alleged manipulation of the benchmark interest rate known as Libor were dismissed last year could pursue an appeal. The Court’s eventual decision will determine if and when these investors will be able to appeal that dismissal, but is unlikely to address the underlying merits of the appeal.
The bond investors’ initial appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals was dismissed (before it was ever heard) for lack of appellate jurisdiction because similar claims remained pending in the District Court for the Southern District of New York as part of a consolidated multidistrict litigation. Under such circumstances, the Second Circuit found that the appeal was precluded while the remaining litigation was ongoing, based on Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b), which is aimed at avoiding piecemeal appeals.
The Circuits have split over whether Rule 54(b) prevents an immediate appeal in a consolidated case until the entire case is resolved in the lower court. The Supreme Court will now address this split of authority and hopefully provide some clarity in these important areas of civil procedure and appellate jurisdiction.
For a more in depth discussion of the issue, please see my earlier article, available here:
(Note: This material is intended for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.)