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Persian Gulf Inc. v. BP West Coast Prods. LLC

United States District Court for the Southern District of California

June 18, 2018, Decided; June 19, 2018, Filed

Case No.: 3:15-cv-01749-L-BGS

Opinion

 [*1145]  ORDER DENYING MOTION TO DISMISS

Pending before the Court in this putative class action alleging violation of antitrust laws is Defendants' motion to dismiss the first amended complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Plaintiff filed an opposition and Defendants replied. The Court decides the matter on the papers submitted and without oral argument pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7.1.d.1. For the reasons which follow, Defendants' motion is denied.

I. BACKGROUND [**3] 

Plaintiff Persian Gulf, Inc. operates a gas station, which purchases gas from Defendant refineries. It filed this action against Defendants BP West Coast Products LLC ("BP"), Chevron U.S.A. Inc. ("Chevron"), Tesoro Refining & Marketing Company LLC ("Tesoro"), Equilon Enterprises  [*1146]  LLC d/b/a Shell Oil Products US ("Shell"), ExxonMobil Refining & Supply Co. ("Exxon"), Valero Marketing and Supply Co. ("Valero"), ConocoPhillips ("Phillips"), and Alon USA Energy, Inc. ("Alon").

Plaintiff contends Defendants conspired to manipulate the wholesale gasoline market in California, causing historically high wholesale prices in 2012 and 2015. It filed a complaint alleging violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act, 15 U.S.C. §1 et seq. ("Sherman Act"), the Cartwright Act, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §16700 et seq. ("Cartwright Act"), and the Unfair Competition Law, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §17200 et seq. ("UCL"). The Court has federal question jurisdiction over the Sherman Act claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1331, and supplemental jurisdiction over the Cartwright Act and UCL claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1367.

Defendants successfully moved to dismiss the initial complaint for failure to allege conspiracy. Plaintiff was granted leave to amend. In the amended complaint ("FAC"), Plaintiff added numerous detailed factual allegations to shore [**4]  up its allegation of conspiracy. Pending before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss the amended complaint.

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324 F. Supp. 3d 1142 *; 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102557 **; 2018-1 Trade Cas. (CCH) P80,424; 2018 WL 3032731

PERSIAN GULF INC., Plaintiff, v. BP WEST COAST PRODUCTS LLC, et al., Defendants.

Prior History: Persian Gulf Inc. v. BP W. Coast Prods. LLC, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 122310 (S.D. Cal., July 14, 2016)

CORE TERMS

refinery, prices, Defendants', gasoline, conspiracy, allegations, shutdowns, inventories, spike, Sherman Act, exported, increased price, competitors, coordinated, notice, shutdown, self-interest, manipulation, factors, manipulate the market, reasonable inference, disruption, production capacity, market share, refiners, tanker, idled, motion to dismiss, gasoline price, misleading