Second Circuit rules against paper company in class action

Jessica M. Karmasek Aug. 9, 2012, 12:30pm


NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - A federal appeals court has ruled against a Connecticut-based paper company in an antitrust class action over price fixing.

On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed in part the decision of the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.

The district court had awarded summary judgment to both defendants Stora Enso North America Corporation, or SENA, and Stora Enso Oyj, or SEO, in a lawsuit alleging a conspiracy to fix prices in violation of the federal Sherman Act.

The plaintiffs in the case -- a certified class consisting of direct purchasers of the defendants' paper products -- contend they paid higher prices for publication paper than they would have in the absence of the alleged price-fixing agreement.

SENA, SEO and former defendants UPM-Kymmene Corporation and UPM-Kymmene Inc. are manufacturers and sellers of publication paper, a type of paper used in preparing printed material of various types.

In its 33-page ruling, the Second Circuit held that the lower court erred in granting summary judgment to SENA, saying a jury could "reasonably find that SENA and UPM entered into an agreement to raise the price of publication paper, and that, as implemented, this agreement damaged plaintiffs."

Thus, SENA was not entitled to judgment as a matter of law, the appeals court said.

As to SEO, the Second Circuit concluded that the district court properly awarded it summary judgment.

The plaintiffs, Judge Susan L. Carney wrote, "failed to offer sufficient evidence from which a jury could reasonably conclude that SEO had any direct involvement in decisions regarding SENA's marketing, sale or pricing of publication paper in the United States."

The court remanded the case for "further proceedings."

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