The First Circuit today turned back another antitrust case arising from car manufacturers’ efforts to suppress — so the plaintiffs alleged — importing cheap vehicles from Canada into the United States. A previous decision in the same multi-district litigation held that the unlikelihood of continuing misconduct by the manufacturers mooted a claim for injunctive relief. Post here.
Today’s ruling extended the Illinois Brick rule — which gets its name from Illinois Brick Co. v. Illinois, 431 U.S. 720 (1977) — to antitrust conspiracy victims who leased something (specifically, an automobile). Illinois Brick limits antitrust standing to direct purchasers of the relevant product or service. Because the plaintiffs didn’t buy straight from the manufacturers (and also didn’t allege that the car dealers conspired with the manufacturers), their status as indirect purchasers deprived them of standing and required dismissal of the case. In re New Motor Vehicles Canadian Export Antitrust Litig. , No. 07-1990 (1st Cir. June 30, 2008).