copper scrap would "mire the court" in a difficult, if not impossible, effort to recreate the "possible permutations in the causes and effects of a price change." Id. at 13-14; see also de Atucha v. Commodity Exchange, Inc., 608 F. Supp. 510 (S.D.N.Y. 1985) (applying Reading to claim of London silver futures market participant against defendants operating in United States silver futures market).
In this case, the task of deciphering the effect of the parade of imponderables asserted by Defendants in this case is similar to the task that proved too speculative for the Second Circuit in Reading. To trace the effect of the Resolution, this Court would have to look first to conditions in the soybean futures and cash markets well prior to the issuance of the Resolution. The Court would have to determine the cause of the allegedly rising price for futures and cash market soybeans.
That determination, if it could be made, would then lead to analysis of the Resolution's effect on futures traders and, through their actions, its effect on futures prices. Along the way, the Court would necessarily have to consider the countless interactions of innumerable market variables over a period of time before and after issuance of the Resolution. All this would only provide, at best, a view of the futures market price decline and its potential causes.
To reach the Plaintiffs' injuries, the Court would have to further speculate on the complex interaction between the futures markets and the numerous cash markets. As we previously mentioned, the conduct of countless individual decision-makers and multiple market variables varying by locality exacerbate the impediments to successful completion of this analysis. In the end, we may assume that the causal chain exists but the Court nonetheless finds that the attenuated nature of that chain's links weighs against standing for Plaintiffs.
In addition to the indirectness of the injury to Plaintiffs, Defendants argue that Plaintiffs' damages are speculative and "defy apportionment." To a great degree, this argument follows from the indirectness of the Plaintiffs' injuries. Plaintiffs contend that lower prices are direct and not speculative damages and that no overwhelming questions of apportionment exist. As in Holmes, this case would require the Court to determine what damages in the form of a price decline are attributable to Defendants' conduct as opposed to other market variables too numerous to mention. That calculation is further hampered by the additional variable of multiple cash markets with potentially differing local variables affecting cash prices. In consideration of these extraordinary difficulties, we find again that the balance tips against granting Plaintiffs standing to pursue their claim.
Finally, we consider an important factor that neither party addresses directly. In Associated General Contractors and in numerous other cases, courts have recognized that where a more directly harmed class of potential plaintiffs exists, the need to allow a more remotely harmed class to proceed is substantially diminished. Associated General Contractors, 459 U.S. at 542; see also Holmes, 112 S. Ct. at 1320; Cargill, Inc. v. Monfort of Colorado, Inc., 479 U.S. 104, 111 n.6, 93 L. Ed. 2d 427, 107 S. Ct. 484 (1986). In this case, an easily identifiable group of potential plaintiffs exists whose harm from the Resolution is far more direct than Plaintiffs. Those traders who participated in the futures market experienced the effects of the Resolution most directly, especially those traders who held long positions who stood to lose from a price decline. Their self-interest would normally be sufficient to protect the public interest in antitrust enforcement. Futures market participants have brought suits against exchanges and boards of trade seeking relief under antitrust law in the past. See, e.g., Grosser v. Commodity Exchange, Inc., 639 F. Supp. 1293 (S.D.N.Y. 1986); de Atucha v. Commodity Exchange, Inc., 608 F. Supp. 510 (S.D.N.Y. 1985). Accordingly, the Court concludes that this factor also weighs heavily against Plaintiffs' standing.
The preceding discussion demonstrates that Plaintiffs' claim is indirect and attenuated and creates enormous levels of complexity and speculation regarding both causation and damages. Moreover, another more directly harmed group exists and that group could protect the public interest in antitrust enforcement. Allowing Plaintiffs to proceed would involve this Court in the type of complex and massive damages litigation that undermines the effectiveness of treble-damage suits. Accordingly, the Court holds that Plaintiffs lack standing to pursue their claim under § 4 of the Clayton Act.
AAM - Representational Standing
Even if we assume for the moment that Plaintiffs' claims are sufficient to overcome Defendants' other standing arguments, the Court finds that AAM lacks standing to represent its members. AAM seeks to represent the interests of its soybean farmer members in pursuing this action but there are no allegations that AAM itself has suffered any damages. Defendants assert that AAM lacks standing to represent its members because this suit involves issues of damages that require the participation of individual members. See Hunt v. Washington State Apple Advertising Comm'n, 432 U.S. 333, 343, 53 L. Ed. 2d 383, 97 S. Ct. 2434 (1977). AAM contends that damage actions are not necessarily "excluded from the category of cases in which associations have standing."
The Seventh Circuit has recognized the uniform rejection of associational standing under § 4 of the Clayton Act. S.W. Suburban, 830 F.2d at 1380 n.3 (collecting cases). The court noted that both the language of § 4 and the test enunciated in Hunt barred an association's standing in a suit to recover damages to its members under § 4. Id. This Court finds no reason to depart from this authority and holds that AAM lacks standing to represent its members in this suit.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court grants the Defendants' motion to dismiss.
GEORGE M. MAROVICH
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
DATED: April 12, 1994