Antitrust Class Action Defense Cases–In re Flat Glass: Pennsylvania Federal Court Denies Motion To Dismiss Antitrust Class Action Finding It Adequately Alleged The Existence Of An Agreement Or Conspiracy To Restrain Trade

Mar 19, 2009 | By: Michael J. Hassen

Allegations in Class Action Complaint were Adequate to Defeat Motion to Dismiss Antitrust Class Action Pennsylvania Federal Court Holds

Plaintiffs filed an antitrust class action against various defendants, consisting of “certain United States manufacturers of high quality flat glass used for construction and architectural applications (‘Construction Flat Glass’)”; the class action complaint asserted that the defendants engaged in price fixing in violation of §1 of the Sherman Act. In re: Flat Glass Antitrust Litig. (II), ___ F.Supp.2d ___ (W.D. Pa February 11, 2009) [Slip Opn., at 1]. The class action was filed on behalf of purchasers of construction flat glass in the United States, and alleged that defendants “agreed to raise and fix prices through a combination of collusive energy surcharges and price increases.” Id., at 2. The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated 20 related cases pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1407 in the Western District of Pennsylvania, id.; the district court appointed co-lead counsel for the class action and a consolidated amended complaint was filed in the class action. Id. Defense attorneys moved to dismiss the class action: they argued that the class action “should be dismissed because the various allegations therein are insufficient under the pleading standard set forth above to infer the existence of an agreement or conspiracy to restrain trade.” Id., at 4. The district court denied the motion, concluding that the allegations in the class action were sufficient to “nudge over the line of sufficiency.” Id.

We do not discuss the court’s reasoning in detail as it is case-specific, see id., at 4-5. Suffice it to say that the district court concluded at page 5 that the class action adequately “alleged agreement/conspiracy that if true would make an antitrust conspiracy plausible.” Accordingly, it denied the motion to dismiss. Id., at 6.

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