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Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Co.

Supreme Court of California

June 14, 2001, Decided

No. S086738.

Opinion

 [*837]  [**501]  [***851]    MOSK, J. 

We granted review in this cause to clarify the law that courts must apply [****5]  in ruling on motions for summary judgment, both in actions generally and specifically in antitrust actions for unlawful conspiracy.

This is an antitrust action arising from a complaint filed by Theresa Aguilar on behalf of herself and all of the other, by her estimate, 24 million retail consumers of California Air Resources Board, or CARB, gasoline --collectively, Aguilar--against Atlantic Richfield Company, Chevron Corporation, Exxon Corporation, Mobil Oil Corporation, Union Oil Company of California (later succeeded by 76 Products Company), Shell Oil Company, Texaco Refining and Marketing, Inc., Tosco Corporation, and Ultramar Inc.--collectively, the petroleum companies. 5 

 [****6]  [**502]   In conducting our review, we have scrutinized facts that are many and complex. The motions for summary judgment with which we are concerned produced a voluminous record, which fills more than 18,400 pages. They arose out of extensive discovery, which yielded, according to one tally, more than 100 depositions, 1,500 interrogatories, 135 requests for admissions, 900 requests for the production of documents, and 500,000 pages of documents in response to such requests.

But because our review focuses on the law that courts must apply in ruling on motions for summary judgment in all actions including the present, and  [*838]  not on the application of such law in this particular one, we need not state the facts in detail and at length. For our purposes, the following synopsis will suffice.

The Legislature has found and declared that the "petroleum industry is an essential element of the California economy and is therefore of vital importance to the health and welfare of all Californians." ( Pub. Resources Code, § 25350, subd. (a).)

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25 Cal. 4th 826 *; 24 P.3d 493 **; 107 Cal. Rptr. 2d 841 ***; 2001 Cal. LEXIS 3758 ****; 2001 Cal. Daily Op. Service 4903; 2001 Daily Journal DAR 6007; 2001-1 Trade Cas. (CCH) P73,317

THERESA AGUILAR et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants, v. ATLANTIC RICHFIELD COMPANY et al., Defendants and Appellants.

Subsequent History:  [****1]  As Modified July 11, 2001. This Modification does not affect the judgment.

Related proceeding at Gilley v. Atl. Richfield Co., 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 12983 (9th Cir. Cal., June 27, 2005)

Prior History: Superior Court of San Diego County. Super. Ct. No. 700810. David J. Danielsen, Judge. Court of Appeal of California, Fourth Appellate District, Division One. D030628.

Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Co., 78 Cal. App. 4th 79, 92 Cal. Rptr. 2d 351, 2000 Cal. App. LEXIS 65 (Cal. App. 4th Dist., 2000)

Disposition: Affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeal.

CORE TERMS

summary judgment, petroleum company, cause of action, unlawful conspiracy, superior court, conspiracy, present evidence, new trial, prima facie, gasoline, burden of persuasion, burden of production, material fact, pages, trier of fact, reasonable trier of fact, preponderance of evidence, Cartwright Act, declarations, decisions, burden of proof, collusively, petroleum, summary judgment motion, implying, unfair competition, matter of law, defendants', pricing, Oil

Civil Procedure, Summary Judgment, Entitlement as Matter of Law, General Overview, Opposing Materials, Evidence, Types of Evidence, Documentary Evidence, Affidavits, Discovery, Methods of Discovery, Burdens of Proof, Movant Persuasion & Proof, Judgments, Evidentiary Considerations, Supporting Materials, Judicial Notice, Motions for Summary Judgment, Genuine Disputes, Allocation, Burden Shifting, Preponderance of Evidence, Materiality of Facts, Antitrust & Trade Law, Sherman Act, Criminal Law & Procedure, Inchoate Crimes, Conspiracy, Elements, Regulated Industries, Communications, Sherman Act, Inferences & Presumptions, Inferences, Initial Burden of Persuasion, Public Enforcement, State Civil Actions, Pretrial Judgments, Nonsuits, Trials, Judgment as Matter of Law, Directed Verdicts, Appropriateness, Relief From Judgments, Motions for New Trials, Appeals, Summary Judgment Review, Appealability, Appellate Jurisdiction, Standards of Review, Abuse of Discretion, De Novo Review, Governments, Courts, Judicial Precedent, Acts & Mental States, Mens Rea, Knowledge, Testimony, Expert Witnesses