The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upholds verdict against steel manufacturer in steel distributors’ per se illegal group boycott (MM Steel / JSW Steel)

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a $156 million jury verdict against a U.S. Gulf Coast steel manufacturer accused of conspiring with distributors to "boycott" a new distributor by denying it access to steel. Even though the steel manufacturer was responding to pressure from distributors, this was sufficient to support the verdict of refusing to sell to the new entrant. This is a reminder for any company to exercise caution when its conduct might be seen as coordinated with other market participants. Background The defendant manufacturer, for simplicity here called "Manufacturer 1," refused to sell to a newly-formed distributor, "NewCo," after other distributors threatened not to buy from Manufacturer 1 if it did business with the new competitor. The court found substantial

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J. Bruce McDonald, The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upholds verdict against steel manufacturer in steel distributors’ per se illegal group boycott (MM Steel / JSW Steel), 25 November 2015, e-Competitions Bulletin November 2015, Art. N° 77168

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