On December 27, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit finally put to rest a nearly decade-long feud between U.S. purchasers of sulfuric acid who sought $500 million from two of Canada’s most well-known mining companies, affirming the trial court’s December 22, 2011 judgment in the defendants’ favor. This decision is significant for Canadian companies engaged in cross-border trade, as well as U.S. companies faced with make-or-buy decisions. The plaintiffs had alleged that the Canadian mining companies, which acted as cross-border suppliers of sulfuric acid, had entered illegal output restrictions with their United States distributors. The Seventh Circuit concluded that the defendants had plausible pro-competitive justifications for their conduct, and therefore applied the Rule of Reason, which required the plaintiffs to show that the arrangements had anticompetitive effects. The plaintiffs were unable to do so, resulting in the judgment for the defendants.
Freeborn's Head of Litigation David Gustman, Partners Jill Anderson, Jeffery Cross, Andrew Nordahl, Verona (Missy) Sandberg and Associate Tonita Helton represented the defendants in the matter.