Parmalat’s Bank of America claims curtailed by NY judge

A New York federal judge in the Parmalat case has dramatically slimmed down the number of claims the Italian dairy giant can bring against Bank of America.

Judge Lewis Kaplan dismissed 10 of the 12 claims, but allowed Parmalat to proceed with its $10bn (£5.53bn) lawsuit against Bank of America. The claims allege that the bank aided Parmalat in committing financial fraud.

In July, Judge Kaplan threw out a class action suit against Bank of America, which accused it of helping Parmalat commit securities fraud.

John Quinn, a partner at US litigation specialist Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges, is advising Enrico Bondi, Parmalat’s administrator, on the US actions, while Joseph Tompkins Jr at Sidley Austin Brown & Wood represented Bank of America.

The Parmalat crisis exploded in December 2003 when the company filed for insolvency, carrying around e14bn (£9.55bn) in debt and with a e4bn (£2.73bn) black hole in its accounts.

Bondi has sued a number of financial institutions and auditors for aiding and abetting the company’s fraud. The growing list of defendants includes JPMorgan, Unicredito, Citigroup and Deloitte & Touche. No bank has admitted any wrongdoing in relation to Parmalat, but both Banca Intesa and Morgan Stanley have reached out of court settlements with Bondi.

It is understood that Parmalat’s adviser fees could reach e170m (£115.6m), with litigation taking up the lion’s share. In addition to Quinn Emmanuel, a number of firms across Europe and the US are advising Bondi on the so-called ‘clawback actions’. Milan litigation Boutique Studio Legale Lombardi Molinari and Weil Gotshal & Manges have also been instructed by Bondi, but have refused to litigate against the investment banks.

Around 70 law firms across 35 countries are acting on more than 500 pieces of litigation arising out of Parmalat’s insolvency.