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In re Aftermarket Filters Antitrust Litig.

United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division

November 5, 2009, Decided; November 5, 2009, Filed

Lead Case No. 08 C 4883; MDL Docket No. 1957

Opinion

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

In this multi-district litigation, several putative plaintiff classes have alleged that defendants, the leading manufacturers 1 of automobile  [*10] aftermarket filters, 2 conducted a single conspiracy to fix filters prices beginning March 1, 1999, and extending to the present. The first proposed class alleges violations of § 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1, and consists of direct purchasers from defendants (the " Direct Purchasers" or "Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs"). The indirect purchaser putative classes consist of a nationwide injunction class (alleging violations of § 1 of the Sherman Act), a nationwide class seeking damages for common law unjust enrichment, and classes asserting claims under the antitrust laws of 28 states and the District of Columbia (together referred to as the "Indirect Purchasers" or the "Indirect Purchaser Plaintiffs") 3

Despite detailed allegations of a number of specific instances of price fixing conversations based on an eyewitness,  [*12] defendants have moved to dismiss the complaints pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim under the standards set by the Supreme Court in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L. Ed. 2d 929 (2007)("Twombly"), as well as asserting a statute of limitations argument. Each of the defendants, with the exception of Champion (which has filed an answer in the direct purchaser case rather than join the motion to dismiss), have advanced separate arguments with respect to the allegations against each of them. The Indirect Purchaser Defendants have joined the Twombly-based motion (the "Twombly Motion") and have also moved to dismiss on a number of other grounds. For the reasons discussed below, the Twombly Motion is denied, and the Indirect Purchaser Defendants' motion is granted in part and denied in part.

I. The Twombly Motion

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2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104114 *; 2009 WL 3754041

IN RE AFTERMARKET FILTERS ANTITRUST LITIGATION; THIS DOCUMENT RELATED TO: All Actions

Subsequent History: Motion granted by, in part, Motion denied by, in part, Claim dismissed by In re Aftermarket Filters Antitrust Litig. This Document Related To: All Indirect Purchaser Actions, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32652 (N.D. Ill., Apr. 1, 2010)

Prior History: In re Aftermarket Filters Antitrust Litig., 572 F. Supp. 2d 1373, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92051 (J.P.M.L., 2008)

CORE TERMS

Indirect, filters, antitrust, consumer, conspiracy, deceptive, unfair, enrichment, customers, unjust, unconscionable, certification, manufacturers, Consolidated, competitors, coordinated, disparity, merchants, senior