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Lorix v. Crompton Corp.
August 22, 2006
DIANE LORIX, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, APPELLANT,
CROMPTON CORPORATION, ET AL., RESPONDENTS.
Hennepin County District Court File No. MC 02-19278.
Indirect-purchaser standing under the Minnesota Antitrust Act is limited to those who participate in the market restrained by the alleged antitrust violation.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ross, Judge
Considered and decided by Shumaker, Presiding Judge; Willis, Judge; and Ross, Judge.
This is a case about alleged price-fixing under the Minnesota Antitrust Act in the sale of chemicals used in the tire-manufacturing process. In this appeal from judgment on the pleadings for lack of standing, appellant tire-consumer Diane Lorix argues that the district court erred by applying an incorrect standing standard and by determining that her claimed injuries are too remote to confer standing. We conclude that Lorix lacks standing because she does not allege that she is a participant in the market restrained by the alleged antitrust violations. We therefore affirm.
Lorix's complaint asserts that respondents Crompton Corporation, Uniroyal Chemical Company, Inc., Uniroyal Chemical Company Limited, and Bayer Corporation conspired to fix the price of rubber-processing chemicals that are sold for use in manufacturing automobile tires. Lorix does not allege that she purchased any overpriced chemicals herself. Lorix alleges instead that she purchased tires that had been made using these chemicals and that she overpaid because the tire manufacturers passed the overcharges resulting from respondents' price-fixing of the chemicals along to her as an ultimate consumer of tires. Lorix purports to represent a class of similarly situated consumers.
Respondents moved for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that because Lorix lacks standing, she has failed to state a claim on which relief can be granted. The district court found that Lorix failed to allege that she is a participant in the allegedly restrained market and that Lorix's injuries are too remote to confer standing. It granted respondents' motion and dismissed Lorix's lawsuit. Lorix's appeal follows.
Did the district court err by determining that Lorix's injuries are too remote from the alleged antitrust violation to confer standing and by dismissing Lorix's claims for lack of standing?
Lorix argues that the district court erred by dismissing her antitrust claim against respondents. A district court may dismiss a claim on the pleadings when a plaintiff fails to set forth a legally sufficient claim for relief. Minn. R. Civ. P. 12.03. Courts must accept the allegations in the pleadings as true and draw all inferences in favor of the non-moving party when considering a motion for judgment on the pleadings. Martins v. Minn. Mining & Mfg. Co., 616 N.W.2d 732, 740 n.9 (Minn. 2000). This court reviews de novo whether the district court erred as a matter of law when the facts relating ...
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