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In re Pool Prods. Distrib. Mkt. Antitrust Litig.

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana

May 24, 2013, Decided; May 24, 2013, Filed

MDL No. 2328 SECTION: R(2)

Opinion

 [*558]  THIS DOCUMENT RELATES  [**3] TO ALL INDIRECT-PURCHASER PLAINTIFF CASES ORDER AND REASONS

Before the Court are defendants'1 motions to dismiss indirect-purchaser plaintiffs' state law claims.2 For the following reasons, defendants' motions are granted in part and denied in part.

I. Background

This is an antitrust case that direct-purchaser plaintiffs (DPPs) and indirect-purchaser plaintiffs (IPPs) filed against Pool and Manufacturer Defendants. On April 11, 2013, the Court issued a ruling on the federal law claims brought by DPPs.3 The Court granted defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiffs' Sherman Act Section 2 monopolization claim and plaintiffs' claim that defendants engaged in a per se illegal group boycott under Section 1 of the Sherman Act. The Court denied the motion to dismiss plaintiffs' Sherman Act Section 2 attempted monopolization  [**4] claim and plaintiffs' Sherman Act Section 1 claims under the rule of reason. The Court also dismissed plaintiffs' claim that defendants fraudulently concealed their antitrust offenses. In this Order and Reasons the Court addresses defendants' motions to dismiss the IPPs' complaint.4

IPPs are owners of pools who indirectly purchased Pool Products5 manufactured by the Manufacturer Defendants and distributed by Pool. The named IPPs and their state citizenship are: Jean Bove (CA), Kevin Kistler (AZ), Lorraine O'Brien (FL), and Ryan Williams (MO). IPPs allege violations of state laws on behalf of classes of individuals and entities who purchased Pool Products not for resale in California, Arizona, Florida, and Missouri. IPPs allege a nationwide conspiracy in which Pool conspired with the Manufacturer Defendants and other Pool Products manufacturers to restrict the supply of Pool Products to Pool's rival distributors. They allege that defendants' conduct resulted in higher prices, reduced output, and reduced customer choice for Pool Products sold indirectly to IPPs.6

IPPs allege that Pool and the Manufacturer Defendants' conduct  [**5] violated various antitrust and deceptive trade practices laws of California, Arizona, Florida, and Missouri. The IPPs seek compensatory damages under the Unfair Competition Law, §§ 17200, et seq., of the California Business & Professional Code; the state antitrust provisions of Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 44-1401, et seq.; the consumer protection provisions of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, Fl. Stat. §§ 501.201, et seq., [*559]  including §501.204; and of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act, §§ 407.010, et seq., R.S.M.7 The IPPs also seek certification of a California Class, an Arizona Class, a Florida Class, and a Missouri Class pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. Each class is defined as "all individuals and entities residing in [the class state] who indirectly purchased and not for resale swimming pool products manufactured by Pentair, Hayward, or Zodiac and distributed by [Pool] Defendants' [sic] from January 1, 2003 through the present."8

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946 F. Supp. 2d 554 *; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74192 **; 2013-1 Trade Cas. (CCH) P78,398; 2013 WL 2297213

IN RE: POOL PRODUCTS DISTRIBUTION MARKET ANTITRUST LITIGATION

Subsequent History: Motion granted by, Motion granted by, in part, Motion denied by, in part, Stay lifted by In re Pool Prods. Distrib. Mkt. Antitrust Litig., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79077 (E.D. La., June 5, 2013)

Prior History: In re Pool Prods. Distrib. Mkt. Antitrust Litig., 940 F. Supp. 2d 367, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52298 (E.D. La., Apr. 11, 2013)

CORE TERMS

Pool, antitrust, Manufacturer, indirect, unfair, deceptive, consumers, distributors, concealment, conspiracy, fraudulent, indirect-purchaser, monopolization, rivals, overcharges, misrepresentation, anticompetitive, nationwide, wholesale, Merchandising, unconscionable, geographic, suppression, indirectly, commerce, entrants, omission, vertical, secret