In re: Sulfuric Acid Antitrust Litigation

Federal 7th Circuit Court
Civil Court
Case Number: 
Nos. 12-1109 & 12-1224 Cons.
Decision Date: 
December 27, 2012
Federal District: 
N.D. Ill., E. Div.
In class action lawsuit under section 1 of Sherman Act alleging that defendants’ “shutdown” agreement with U.S. distributors of defendants’ sulfuric acid manufactured in Canada constituted per se illegal price fixing where plaintiffs alleged that said agreements required distributors to cease production of their own sulfuric acid that in turn caused rise in market price, Dist. Ct. did not err in finding that said case could only proceed to trial under rule of reason theory of liability. Per se theory of liability is reserved for those instances where particular business practice has no redeeming benefit, and said theory could not apply in instant case where: (1) defendants could properly insist that their distributors not carry competitive line of sulfuric acid; and (2) defendants could properly argue to trier-of-fact that shutdown agreements were likely to have pro-competitive result by causing eventual fall in price of sulfuric acid in U.S. market.