Northern District Of Illinois Certifies Class In Alleged Broiler Price Fixing Conspiracy
On May 27, 2022, in In Re Broiler Chicken Antirust Litigation, No. 16 C 8637, 2022 WL 1720468, at *10 (N.D. Ill. May 27, 2022), Judge Thomas M. Durkin of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois certified classes of direct purchasers, indirect purchasers, and end-user consumers (together, “plaintiffs”) in a Sherman Act lawsuit alleging that major broiler chicken producers conspired to limit chicken production to boost prices.
Northern District Of California Dismisses App Developer’s Antitrust Claims Against Apple
On January 7, 2022, Edward M. Chen of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed an app developer’s claim that Apple, Inc.’s operation of the Apple App Store had violated both state and federal antitrust laws. Reilly v. Apple, Inc., No. 21-cv-04601 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 7, 2022). The developer alleged that Apple had monopolized the market for iOS-app distribution (iOS is Apple’s operating system). The district court dismissed the case, holding that the app developer had failed to plausibly allege either a relevant market or an antitrust injury.
U.S. District Court For The District Of Columbia Allows FTC’s Second Attempt At Monopolization Claims Against Facebook To Go Forward
On January 11, 2022, Judge James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia denied Facebook, Inc.’s motion to dismiss the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) amended complaint alleging that Facebook Inc. monopolized the alleged market for personal social networking (“PSN”) services in violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act, finding that, in contrast to its original complaint, the FTC’s amended complaint adequately alleged facts to support its proposed market definition and that defendant possessed monopoly power in that market.
District Court Grants Summary Judgment Against Indirect Purchasers In Aluminum Price-Fixing Case
On February 17, 2021, Judge Paul A. Engelmayer of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granted summary judgment to defendants that traded commodities and derivatives, and defendants that owned and operated warehouses, in a consolidated action, dismissing claims by aluminum purchasers. In Re Aluminum Warehousing Antitrust Litigation, 13 MD 2481 (PAE) (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 17, 2021). Plaintiffs alleged defendants had conspired to fix the price of aluminum in a distribution channel in which plaintiffs (with one exception) did not participate, but that the conspiracy had the incidental effect of inflating the cost of plaintiffs’ contracts with third parties, most notably aluminum producers. Plaintiffs asserted that even though they did not participate directly in the allegedly restrained distribution channel, they could pursue a claim that defendants violated Section 1 of the Sherman Act. The Court held that plaintiffs were not efficient enforcers, and therefore lacked “antitrust standing” to bring the claims, because they did not contract directly with defendants, their claimed harms were speculative, and their claims risked exposing defendants to duplicative liability.
Courts Finds It Lacks Jurisdiction To Entertain Challenge To FTC Civil Investigative Demand
On February 3, 2021, Judge R. David Proctor of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama granted the Federal Trade Commission’s motion to dismiss a complaint filed by the Board of Dental Examiners of Alabama (“Board”) seeking to enjoin a Civil Investigative Demand (“CID”) that the FTC had issued to the Board. Bd. of Dental Exam’rs of Ala. v. Fed. Trade Comm’n, Case No. 2:20-cv-1310-RDP (N.D. Ala. 2021). The court held that it lacked subject-matter jurisdiction to entertain the complaint because the Board failed to meet the final agency action and exhaustion requirements.
Fourth Circuit Panel Reaffirms State Immunity From Sherman Antitrust Liability
On January 19, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of claims brought by Western Star Hospital Authority, Inc. (“Metro Heath”), an ambulance company, against the City of Richmond, Virginia and the Richmond Ambulance Authority (“RAA”), a public monopoly, under Section 2 of the Sherman Act.
Third Time’s Not A Charm: California District Court Dismisses Consolidated Class Action Against German Automakers
On October 23, 2020, District Judge Charles Breyer of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed with prejudice Sherman Act claims in two consolidated complaints brought by consumers (indirect purchasers or IPPs) and auto-dealers (direct purchasers or DPPs) (together Plaintiffs). The complaints alleged anticompetitive standardization of diesel emissions control systems and price-fixing by the five leading German car manufacturers in the United States—Audi AG, BMW AG, Daimler AG, Porsche AG, and Volkswagen AG (Defendants) for models made between 2006 through 2016. In re: German Automotive Manufacturers Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 2796 CRB (JSC) (N.D.Cal. Oct. 23, 2020). Ultimately, the Court found that Plaintiffs failed to allege a "relevant market" and that Defendants had power within that market. The Court had granted Defendants’ motions against the same Plaintiffs on two prior occasions and thus granted the present motion with prejudice so that Plaintiffs would not get a fourth bite at the apple.