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Aerotec Int'l, Inc. v. Honeywell Int'l, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

March 16, 2016, Argued and Submitted, San Francisco, California; September 9, 2016, Filed

No. 14-15562

Opinion

 [*1175]  McKEOWN, Circuit Judge:

This case reads like an antitrust primer for aftermarket issues, with claims for exclusive dealing, tying, essential facilities, refusal to deal, price bundling, and price squeezing under Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act and differential pricing/price discrimination under the Robinson-Patman Act. Honeywell International Inc. ("Honeywell") [**3]  is one of the world's two largest manufacturers of auxiliary power units ("APUs"), which power aircraft functions such as electricity and temperature. Aerotec International Inc. ("Aerotec") is a small, independent company that provides maintenance, repair, and overhaul ("MRO") services for Honeywell APUs. Aerotec argues that Honeywell leverages its monopoly power over the APU parts market to unfairly smother competition in the repair services market.

Aerotec's antitrust claims fail for lack of evidence to link Aerotec's misfortune to any cognizable basis for antitrust liability. This case serves as a reminder that anecdotal speculation and supposition are not a substitute for evidence, and that evidence decoupled from harm to competition—the bellwether of antitrust—is insufficient to defeat summary judgment. As the Supreme Court reminds us, ] "[t]he law directs itself not against conduct which is competitive, even severely so, but against conduct which unfairly tends to destroy competition itself." Spectrum Sports, Inc. v. McQuillan, 506 U.S. 447, 458, 113 S. Ct. 884, 122 L. Ed. 2d 247 (1993); see also Cascade Health Solutions v. PeaceHealth, 515 F.3d 883, 901 (9th Cir. 2007) (reiterating that "antitrust laws protect the process of competition, and not the pursuits of any particular competitor"). We affirm the district court's grant of summary judgment in [**4]  favor of Honeywell.

Background

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836 F.3d 1171 *; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16571 **; 2016-2 Trade Cas. (CCH) P79,753

AEROTEC INTERNATIONAL, INC., an Arizona corporation, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. HONEYWELL INTERNATIONAL, INC., a Delaware corporation, Defendant-Appellee.

Prior History:  [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Arizona. D.C. No. 2:10-cv-00433-JWS. John W. Sedwick, District Judge, Presiding.

Aerotec Int'l, Inc. v. Honeywell Int'l, Inc., 4 F. Supp. 3d 1123, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38651 (D. Ariz., 2014)

Disposition: AFFIRMED.

CORE TERMS

repair, discount, pricing, competitor, servicers, airlines, bundled, contracts, conditions, terms, affiliates, buyer, percent, seller, tie, purchasers, customer, repair service, Sherman Act, manufacturer, de facto, foreclose, long-term, products, sales, antitrust, bid, price discrimination, antitrust claim, facilities

Antitrust & Trade Law, Business & Corporate Compliance, Antitrust, Sherman Act, Claims, Price Fixing & Restraints of Trade, Tying Arrangements, Sherman Act Violations, Exclusive & Reciprocal Dealing, Exclusive Dealing, Regulated Practices, Per Se Rule & Rule of Reason, Scope, Monopolies & Monopolization, Actual Monopolization, Actual Monopolization, Attempts to Monopolize, Sherman Act, Anticompetitive & Predatory Practices, Price Discrimination, Competitive Injuries, Secondary & Tertiary Line Injuries