Sperry v. Crompton Corporation, et al.

Indirect Purchaser Class Action Claims

U.S. Chamber's Position: 

NCLC urged the New York Court of Appeals to hold that New York law, including New York's General Business Law and Donnelly Act, bars indirect purchaser class action claims. In this case, a proposed class of consumers who purchased tires sued sued several chemical companies (including Uniroyal Chemical Company, Bayer Corporation, Flexsys, and Rhein Chemie Corporation) who sold materials to the tire manufacturers, alleging that the chemical companies engaged in anti-competitive conduct and overcharged the tire manufacturers. In its brief, NCLC explained that indirect purchaser class action claims are unworkable, that even meritless class actions place a special burden on defendants, and that there are other methods of ensuring that companies who violate the antitrust laws are held culpable for their behavior. In addition, NCLC noted that the plaintiff attempted to evade the Donnelly Act's bar on class actions by filing unjust enrichment claims.

Case Outcome: 

The New York Court of Appeals held that New York law bars indirect purchasers from advancing antitrust claims under the state's antitrust law, the Donnelly Act, via the class action device. The court also rejected the plaintiffs' efforts to evade the bar on class actions by filing an unjust enrichment claim.

Procedural History: 

Amicus brief filed 12/1/06. Decided 2/22/07.