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Third Circuit Court Upholds Denial of Class Certification in Truck Transmission Antitrust Case

2/27/2017
Third Circuit Court Upholds Denial of Class Certification in Truck Transmission Antitrust Case

Pepper Hamilton attorneys win second victory for Volvo Trucks North America and Mack Trucks Inc.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has upheld a lower court’s earlier ruling denying class certification to plaintiffs in an antitrust case against several large truck manufacturers. The federal court restored only individual claims related to the case, previously dismissed by the district court.

Pepper Hamilton, a multi-practice law firm with a well-reputed antitrust practice, represented Volvo Trucks North America and Mack Trucks Inc. in the defeat against the $1 billion class action lawsuit filed against them and several other truck manufacturers in 2010. In the initial case, a group of indirect buyers alleged that Volvo, Mack and several other truck manufacturers engaged in anticompetitive conduct by entering into exclusive agreements with transmission manufacturer Eaton Corporation with the intent to eliminate Eaton’s main competitor, Meritor. In 2015, Delaware District Judge Sue L. Robinson ruled that the plaintiffs failed to meet requirements to certify their class and dismissed both class action and individual cases. The plaintiffs appealed that ruling.

On February 9, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the denial of class certification, only vacating the district court’s original order dismissing individual claims, citing that impact could be determined on an individual basis. According to the opinion, the court came to the decision that the “District Court procedurally and substantively conducted a rigorous analysis of the Appellants’ theory of class-wide impact and available evidence, and that the District Court did not abuse its discretion in its analysis.”

“We are pleased with the federal court’s decision to uphold very specific laws concerning class certification,” said Jeremy Heep, lead counsel in the case and co-chair of Pepper Hamilton’s Antitrust and Competition Section. “Though individual lawsuits may still move forward at this time, we still consider this a victory for our clients.”

Other key Pepper Hamilton attorneys who led the case included Daniel Boland, partner and member of the firm’s executive committee, and Michael Hartman, senior associate.