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Second Circuit Gives Attorney One More Try In Bond Market Antitrust Suit Against Citigroup

Posted  August 19, 2011

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has given a sliver of hope to an attorney seeking to resurrect her claims that Citigroup abused its market power to block her innovative method of structuring bonds for municipalities seeking to finance the construction and renovation of airport terminals.

Though it affirmed the district court’s dismissal of the complaint in Williams v. Citigroup Inc. et al., for failing to meet the pleading standard set by the Supreme Court in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, the Second Circuit sent the case back to the lower court, ruling that the lower court should at least consider the request of attorney Linda Grant Williams to amend her complaint against Citigroup.

Citing the liberal amendment policy under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Second Circuit said that, on remand, the district court “should address whether the proposed amendments would be futile.”

In her complaint, Williams alleges that Citigroup illegally blocked a financing method she developed for airline special facility bonds (“ASF bonds”) in violation of federal and New York State antitrust laws.

Specifically, Williams alleged that Citigroup, which controls 73 percent of the market for underwriting ASF bonds, abused its dominant market position and conspired with other banks and municipal governments to block use of her new “patent pending” way of structuring these bonds, which finance the construction and renovation of airport terminals.

Williams also alleged that Citigroup pressured two law firms that employed her to terminate her in order to prevent her from marketing her new financing method.

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