Amaranth Lawsuit Against JPMorgan Tossed

Aug 8 2011 | 12:33pm ET

Nearly five years after its spectacular collapse, Amaranth Advisors has seen its lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase join it in the dustbin of history.

A New York State judge dismissed the 2007 claim against the investment bank, in which Amaranth accused JPMorgan of sabotaging and thwarting its desperate effort to save itself as it lost $6 billion on the natural gas market. Amaranth claims that nearly half of those losses were the result of JPMorgan's actions, first in refusing to transfer its natural gas trades to Goldman Sachs and then by undermining a deal with Citadel Investment Group. The hedge fund claims that JPMorgan did so in an effort to profit from Amaranth's dire straits—which it did, eventually taking on the portfolio alongside Citadel and turning a $725 million profit.

But Judge O. Peter Sherwood ruled that Amaranth can't actually show that JPMorgan executives Steve Black and Bill Winters' warning to Citadel that "Amaranth is not as solvent as they are telling you" was the reason Citadel backed out of the deal.

Instead, Citadel "conducted its own research in connection with the proposed transaction with the fund and evidence of the tenuousness of the fund's financial condition was readily available," Sherwood wrote.

Amaranth said it would appeal the ruling—as it has done with past adverse rulings. In 2008, another judge dismissed five of Amaranth's six claims against JPMorgan, and a year later a New York appeals court dismissed the one remaining claim while reinstating another.


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