District Court Judge Lynn Adelman certified a class of indirect purchasers of After-Market Sheet Metal (“AMSM”) parts who allegedly suffered damages from price-fixing by AMSM parts manufacturers. AMSM parts are used to replace car parts such as hoods, doors, and fenders after they become damaged in collisions. The class includes third-party payors such as car insurance providers.
According to Plaintiffs, an environment conducive to anticompetitive behavior in the industry can be traced back to 30 years ago in Tainan, Taiwan, where small manufactures of AMSM parts were acquired by the Defendants, resulting in high industry concentration among four large manufacturers. Plaintiffs allege that between 2003 and 2009, the Defendants and their co-conspirators artificially raised the prices of AMSM parts and conspired to reduce their supply, and in doing so, directly violated state and nation-wide antitrust laws. OnPoint expert Dr. John Connor submitted a report wherein he opined that the AMSM parts industry is highly concentrated, that there are few good substitutes for AMSM parts, that demand is inelastic and that there are substantial barriers to entering the industry.
These characteristics provided an environment conducive to price manipulation and supply reduction. Dr. Connor also presented working methodologies for estimating class-wide damages using regression models. The Court found that Dr. Connor’s estimation of price elevation, of the rate of pass-through of that price elevation, and of the dollar amount of economic harm suffered by the class of indirect purchasers was sufficient to show that there was a method for determining aggregate class-wide damages and, as the Judge put it, that “class issues predominate.” To learn more about John Connor, click here.