Merrill Lynch Prevails in Antitrust Suit

Skadden secured a dismissal on behalf of firm client Merrill Lynch of class action suits brought in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by issuers and investors of auction rate securities alleging antitrust violations. Plaintiffs alleged that several major financial institutions had acted collectively to withdraw support for the auction rate securities market, in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act. In a decision issued on January 26, Judge Barbara Jones agreed with defendants' argument that plaintiffs' claims were impliedly precluded by federal securities laws. The court held that "governing law makes plain that Plaintiffs' antitrust claim is precluded by securities laws and must be dismissed."