Justia U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Antitrust & Trade Regulation

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IQ filed suit against three large dental supply distributors, alleging that defendants violated federal and state antitrust laws, as well as common law tort claims. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of IQ's claim that it has antitrust standing to challenge the boycott of SourceOne and the state dental associations (SDAs) that had partnered with SourceOne. However, the court found that IQ's antitrust and tort claims may go forward on the direct boycott allegations. In this case, IQ was an efficient enforcer of the antitrust laws solely with respect to its allegations that it has been directly boycotted by the actions of defendants. Accordingly, the court vacated in part and remanded for further proceedings. Finally, IQ's state law antitrust claims and common law tort claims were also vacated and remanded, but only to the extent that they relied on IQ's allegations that it suffered harm as a result of the direct boycott. View "IQ Dental Supply, Inc. v. Henry Schein, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of LBE's action alleging claims under the Sherman Act and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). LBE alleged that Barbri and law schools entered into agreements whereby Barbri donates money to the schools, bribes their administrators, and hires their faculty to teach bar review courses. LBE further alleged that, in exchange, the law school gives Barbri direct access to promote and sell its products on campus. The court adopted the district court's well-reasoned and thorough analysis of LBE's allegations and held that the district court properly dismissed the complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a plausible claim of relief. The district court concluded that internal contradictions and conclusory assertions in the complaint did not plausibly support LBE's claim that Barbri and the law schools conspired to enable Barbri to gain a monopoly. View "LLM Bar Exam, LLC v. Barbri, Inc." on Justia Law

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Total Wine challenged provisions of Connecticut’s Liquor Control Act and regulations as preempted by the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. 1. Connecticut’s “post and hold” provisions require state-licensed manufacturers, wholesalers, and out-of-state permittees to post a “bottle price” or “can price” and a “case price” each month with the Department of Consumer Protection for each alcoholic product that the wholesaler intends to sell during the following month; they may “amend” their posted prices to “match” competitors’ lower prices but are obligated to “hold” their prices at the posted price (amended or not) for a month. Connecticut’s minimum-retail-price provisions require that retailers sell to customers at or above a statutorily defined “[c]ost,” which is not defined as the retailer’s actual cost. The post-and-hold number supplies the central component of “[c]ost” and largely dictates the price at which Connecticut retailers must sell their alcoholic products. The Second Circuit affirmed dismissal of the complaint. Connecticut’s minimum-retail-price provisions, compelling only vertical pricing arrangements among private actors, are not preempted. The post-and-hold provisions were not preempted because they “do not compel any agreement” among wholesalers, but only individual action. The court also upheld a price discrimination prohibition as falling outside the scope of the Sherman Act. View "Connecticut Fine Wine and Spirits LLC v. Seagull" on Justia Law

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The FTC filed suit alleging that defendants' debt collection practices violated several provisions of the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTCA) and the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for the FTC. Because Defendant Moses submitted no brief prior to the deadline submission set by the court, the court dismissed the appeal under Local Rule 31.2(d). The court also held that the disgorgement assessed jointly and severally against all defendants, including Briandi and Moses, was in an appropriate amount because it was a reasonable approximation of the total amounts received by the defendant companies from consumers as a result of their unlawful acts. View "Federal Trade Commission v. Federal Check Processing, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendants in an action alleging that defendants conspired to boycott Anderson and drive it out of business, in violation of section 1 of the Sherman Act. The court reviewed the evidence in light of the totality of the circumstances and under the "tends to exclude" standard under Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 588 (1986), and held that the district court correctly ruled that Anderson failed to offer sufficient evidence from which a reasonable jury could infer that defendants entered into such an unlawful agreement. In this case, defendants refused to pay Anderson's proposed delivery surcharge and found other wholesalers to deliver their magazines. The court also held that the district court correctly ruled that defendants did not suffer an antitrust injury and thus lacked antitrust standing to pursue counterclaims. View "Anderson News, LLC v. American Media, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of NASL's motion for a preliminary injunction seeking a Division II designation pending the resolution of its antitrust case against USSF. Applying the heightened standard applicable to mandatory preliminary injunctions, the court held that NASL failed to demonstrate a clear likelihood of success on the merits of its antitrust claim against USSF under 15 U.S.C. 1. In this case, even assuming that NASL's allegations showed a conspiracy, NASL failed to show that the agreement at issue was an unreasonable restraint on competition under section 1. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings on the merits of NASL's claims. View "North American Soccer League, LLC v. United States Soccer Federation, Inc." on Justia Law

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BikerGear filed suit against FedEx, accusing FedEx of fraudulently marking up the weights of packages shipped by BikerGear and overcharging BikerGear for Canadian customers, in violation of the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act of 1995 (ICCTA), 49 U.S.C. 13708(b), and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. 1962(c). The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the ICCTA claim on the pleadings, and the district court's grant of summary judgment for FedEx and dismissal of BikerGear's substantive RICO claims. The court held that (1) Section 13708 of the ICCTA requires shipping documents to truthfully disclose the charges that a motor carrier in fact assesses, and prohibits a motor carrier from stating it will charge one amount when in reality it charges another; and (2) where, as here, the RICO persons and the RICO enterprise were corporate parents and wholly‐owned subsidiaries that "operate within a unified corporate structure" and were "guided by a single corporate consciousness," the mere fact of separate incorporation, without more, did not satisfy RICO's distinctness requirement under Section 1962(c). View "U1IT4Less Inc. v. FedEx Corp." on Justia Law

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This case arose out of a dispute over subcontracting clauses in collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) between the Carpenters' Union and various construction companies and construction managers. The clauses effectively barred subcontracting of construction work with non-Carpenter affiliates. Ironworkers alleged that the Carpenters have used these subcontracting clauses to expand the scope of work assigned to the Carpenters Union to include work traditionally assigned to the Ironworkers. The district court granted summary judgment to the Carpenters. The Second Circuit held that the Carpenters have met the requirements of the construction industry proviso of Section 8(e) of the National Labor Relations Act, but that, on this record, there were factual disputes that precluded a decision on whether the conduct fell within the non‐statutory exemption to antitrust liability. The court explained, to demonstrate that the disputed subcontracting practices were sheltered by the non‐statutory exemption (and thus to defeat the Ironworkers' antitrust claim completely), the Carpenters must show that these practices furthered legitimate aims of collective bargaining, in a way that was not unduly restrictive of market competition. Accordingly, the court vacated the district court's judgment as to the Sherman Act claim; affirmed as to the unfair labor practices claim; and remanded. View "Conn. Ironworkers Employers Assoc. v. New England Regional Council of Carpenters" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Simon & Schuster on the issues of antitrust injury and causation. Lavoho, successor in interest to Diesel, filed this antitrust action for business injuries it alleges arose from an unlawful conspiracy in restraint of trade between Apple, Inc. and five major publishing companies. The district court determined that Diesel's business was not grounded in price competition, that it contemporaneously viewed the adoption of agency pricing as a boon, and that its decline was not a legally cognizable antitrust injury flowing from the unlawful nature of the conspiracy. The court agreed and held that there was no genuine dispute as to any material fact underlying the conclusion that, as a matter of law, Diesel suffered no antitrust injury caused by the unlawful antitrust conspiracy. View "Diesel eBooks, LLC v. Simon & Schuster, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of publishing companies on issues of antitrust injury and causation. Abbey House, dba BooksOnBoard, filed this civil antitrust action for business injuries it alleges arose from an unlawful conspiracy in restraint of trade between Apple, Inc. and five major publishing companies. The district court determined that BooksOnBoard faced strong competition from large retailers, that it contemporaneously viewed the adoption of agency pricing as a boon, and that its subsequent demise was not attributable to the unlawful conspiracy. The court agreed and held that there was no material fact in dispute underlying the conclusion that, as a matter of law, BooksOnBoard suffered no antitrust injury caused by the unlawful antitrust conspiracy. View "Abbey House Media, Inc. v. Simon & Schuster, Inc." on Justia Law