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Stanislaus Food Prods. Co. v. USS-POSCO Indus.

United States District Court for the Eastern District of California

February 24, 2011, Decided; February 24, 2011, Filed

CASE NO. CV F 09-0560 LJO SMS

Opinion

 [*1062]  ORDER ON JOINT MOTION TO DISMISS

(Doc. 241)

By notice filed on December 10, 2010, defendants USS-POSCO Industries ("UPI"), U.S. Steel Corp, Pitcal, Inc., POSCO-California Corp, and POSCO American Steel Corp. (Collectively "defendants") filed a joint motion to dismiss the plaintiff's second amended complaint ("SAC").  [**3] The motions were filed under seal and redacted portions of the motions were subsequently filed. Plaintiff Stanislaus Food Products filed an opposition to the motions on January 18, 2011. The opposition also was filed under seal with a redacted version also filed. The defendants filed reply briefs on February 2, 2011 and a redacted version was also filed. Pursuant to order, the motion was set without a hearing date. Having considered the moving, opposition, and reply papers, as well as the Court's file, the Court issues the following order.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Stanislaus Food Products ("plaintiff" or "Stanislaus") is a Modesto tomato canner. Stanislaus processes and "fresh packs" tomatoes into tin-plated cans. Since 2001, Stanislaus has purchased millions of one-gallon tin-plated cans pursuant to a Container Supply Agreement ("Container Agreement") with non-party Silgan Containers Corporation ("Silgan"). (Doc. 235, SAC ¶15.)1 Silgan buys "Tin Mill Products" (tin-plated steel) and manufactures the Tin Mill Products into tin-plated cans which are sold to canners, such as Stanislaus. (Doc. 235, SAC ¶17.) Defendant USS-POSCO Industries ("UPI") is the manufacturer of the Tin Mill  [**4] Products. UPI produces cold-rolled sheets, galvanized sheets and tin-plated and tin-free steel from "hot rolled" steel at its plant in Pittsburgh, California. (Doc. 235, SAC ¶17.) UPI then sells the tin-plated steel to Silgan to make tin cans which Silgan in turn sells to Stanislaus. UPI is the only Tin Mill Products producer in the Western United States.

This action alleges antitrust conspiracies by defendants to monopolize the Tin Mill Products market and to price-fix Tin Mill Products.

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782 F. Supp. 2d 1059 *; 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43056 **; 2011-1 Trade Cas. (CCH) P77,398

STANISLAUS FOOD PRODUCTS COMPANY, Plaintiff, vs. USS-POSCO INDUSTRIES, et al., Defendant.

Subsequent History: Motion granted by, in part, Motion denied by, in part, Claim dismissed by, in part Stanislaus Food Prods. Co. v. USS-POSCO Indus., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72764 (E.D. Cal., July 7, 2011)

Prior History: Stanislaus Food Prods. Co. v. USS-POSCO Indus., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92236 (E.D. Cal., Sept. 3, 2010)

CORE TERMS

Tin, Steel, conspiracy, indirect, monopolize, antitrust, tin-plate, customers, REDACTED, competitors, quantity, manufacturer, monopoly, cost-plus, injunctive, overcharge, co-conspirator, conclusory, buying, memory, predetermined, inextricably, commerce, dramatic, supplier, Unfair, tomato, chain, flash, exit

Civil Procedure, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Motions to Dismiss, Failure to State Claim, Pleadings, Amendment of Pleadings, Leave of Court, Antitrust & Trade Law, Sherman Act, Claims, Regulated Practices, Monopolies & Monopolization, General Overview, Scope, Monopolization Offenses, Conspiracy to Monopolize, Elements, Sherman Act, Private Actions, Standing, Requirements, Constitutional Law, Case or Controversy, Purchasers, Indirect Purchasers, Clayton Act, Complaints, Requirements for Complaint, Price Fixing & Restraints of Trade, Public Enforcement, State Civil Actions, Preliminary Considerations, Federal & State Interrelationships, Erie Doctrine, Consumer Protection, Deceptive & Unfair Trade Practices, State Regulation