Justia U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Antitrust & Trade Regulation
Abraham & Veneklasen Joint Venture v. American Quarter Horse Assoc.
Plaintiffs filed suit against AQHA, alleging violations of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. 1, 2, and Texas antitrust law. Plaintiffs' allegations stemmed from votes by the Stud Book and Registration Committee of the AQHA, which had blocked AQHA registration of horses created through somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT or cloning). On appeal, AQHA challenged the district court's denial of its motion for judgment as a matter of law (JMOL). The court concluded that reasonable jurors could not draw any inference of conspiracy from the evidence presented, because it neither tends to exclude the possibility of independent action nor does it suggest the existence of any conspiracy at all. Therefore, the court concluded that the JMOL motion should have been granted in the absence of substantial evidence on the issue of an illegal conspiracy to restrain trade under Section 1 of the Act. Further, the Section 2 claim failed as a matter of law because AQHA is not a competitor in the allegedly relevant market for elite Quarter Horses. Accordingly, the court reversed and rendered judgment for AQHA. View "Abraham & Veneklasen Joint Venture v. American Quarter Horse Assoc." on Justia Law
Marucci Sports, L.L.C. v. Nat’l Collegiate Athl. Assn., et al.
Plaintiff, a baseball bat manufacturer, filed an antitrust suit against the NCAA and the NFHS, alleging that they imposed a regulation, the Bat-Ball Coefficient of Restitution Standard (BBCOR), that restrained trade in the market for non-wood baseball bats. The district court dismissed the complaint. The court concluded that plaintiff failed to sufficiently allege a conspiracy under section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. 1; the only plausible injury asserted was its own and only injuries to the markets were cognizable; and therefore, plaintiff did not state a claim upon which relief could be granted and the district court properly dismissed its Sherman Act claim. The court also concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying plaintiff's motion to amend where two prior amendments were granted and allowing a third would be futile. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the Second Amended Complaint and affirmed the district court's denial of plaintiff's motion to amend. View "Marucci Sports, L.L.C. v. Nat'l Collegiate Athl. Assn., et al." on Justia Law
Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. v. Agerton, et al.
Plaintiffs, chicken growers, filed suit and obtained a money judgment against PPC for damages arising from PPC's unlawful attempt to manipulate or control poultry prices. The court concluded that PPC's conduct was merely the legitimate response of a rational market participant to changes in a dynamic market. If a firm inadvertently over-produces a good and drives down prices, it did not break the law by cutting production so that prices could recover. Therefore, the court held that PPC did not violate the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921 (PSA), 7 U.S.C. 181 et seq., by reducing its commodity chicken output. Accordingly, the court reversed and rendered judgment in favor of PPC. View "Pilgrim's Pride Corp. v. Agerton, et al." on Justia Law
Funeral Consumers Alliance Inc, et al v. Service Corp. Intl, et al
Plaintiffs brought a class action suit under section 4 of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. 15, against the largest United States casket manufacturer, Batesville; and against the three largest United States funeral home chains and distributors of Batesville caskets. Plaintiffs alleged that defendants conspired to foreclose competition from independent casket discounters (ICDs) who sold caskets directly to consumers at discount prices and maintained artificially high consumer casket prices in violation of sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. 1, 2, by engaging in a group boycott to prevent ICDs from selling Batesville caskets and dissuading consumers from purchasing caskets from ICDs. Plaintiffs also alleged that defendants used concerted efforts to restrict casket price competition, including coordinating prices, limiting the advertisement of pricing, and engaging in sham discounting. The court reversed and remanded the district court's dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction of the claim for attorneys' fees and costs; affirmed the district court's dismissal of Consumer Appellants' and FCA's injunctive relief claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction; and affirmed the district court's denial of class certification. View "Funeral Consumers Alliance Inc, et al v. Service Corp. Intl, et al" on Justia Law
Gulf Coast Hotel-Motel Ass’n v. Mississippi Gulf Coast Golf Co, et al.
This was an antitrust case involving a dispute between competing programs to sell vouchers for rounds of golf at golf courses along Mississippi's Gulf Coast. The district court granted defendants' motion to dismiss, deciding, in pertinent part, that plaintiff had failed to allege the interstate commerce element of a valid claim under the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. 1-7. The court concluded that, if it was true that these hotels and golf courses attracted out-of-state visitors who participated in the voucher program, as the complaint alleged, then there could be no doubt under both the Supreme Court's and this court's jurisprudence that the complaint stated a claim with respect to subject matter jurisdiction. Therefore, because the court found that the district court erred in dismissing the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings.