Justia Commercial Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
Energy Conversion Devices Liquidation Trust v. Trina Solar Ltd.
The defendant companies, based in China, produce conventional solar energy panels. Energy Conversion and other American manufacturers produce the newer thin-film panels. The Chinese producers sought greater market shares. They agreed to export more products to the U.S. and to sell them below cost. Several entities supported their endeavor. Suppliers provided discounts, a trade association facilitated cooperation, and the Chinese government provided below-cost financing. From 2008-2011, the average selling prices of their panels fell over 60%. American manufacturers consulted the Department of Commerce, which found that the Chinese firms had harmed American industry through illegal dumping and assessed substantial tariffs. The American manufacturers continued to suffer; more than 20 , including Energy Conversion, filed for bankruptcy or closed. Energy Conversion sued under the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. 1, and Michigan law, seeking $3 billion in treble damages, claiming that the Chinese companies had unlawfully conspired “to sell Chinese manufactured solar panels at unreasonably low or below cost prices . . . to destroy an American industry.” Because this allegation did not state that the Chinese companies could or would recoup their losses by charging monopoly prices after driving competitors from the field, the court dismissed the claim. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. Without such an allegation or any willingness to prove a reasonable prospect of recoupment, the court correctly rejected the claim. View "Energy Conversion Devices Liquidation Trust v. Trina Solar Ltd." on Justia Law
Siding and Insulation Co. v. Alco Vending, Inc.
Alco, a vending machine company, contracted with B2B, a “fax broadcaster,” in 2005, and dealt with B2B and Macaw, a Romanian business, that worked with B2B. Each sample advertisement provided by B2B stated that the message was “the exclusive property of Macaw . . . , which is solely responsible for its contents and destinations.” According to Alco, B2B was to identify recipients from a list of businesses that had consented to receive fax advertising from B2B. Alco never saw this list, but believed that each business would be located near Alco’s Ohio headquarters, and had an existing relationship with B2B, so that the advertising would be “100 percent legal.” B2B broadcast several thousand faxes, advertising Alco. According to Alco, B2B did not inform Alco about the number of faxes, the dates on which they were sent, or the specific businesses to which they were addressed. After each broadcast, Alco received complaints of unauthorized faxes in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act 47 U.S.C. 227(b)(1)(C), which it referred to B2B. Siding filed a purported class action against Alco. The district court rejected the suit on summary judgment. The Sixth Circuit reversed and remanded for determination of whether B2B broadcast the faxes “on behalf of” Alco, considering the degree of control that Alco exercised, whether Alco approved the final content, and the contractual relationship. View "Siding and Insulation Co. v. Alco Vending, Inc." on Justia Law
Exel, Inc. v. S. Refrigerated Transp., Inc.
Exel, a shipping broker, sued SRT, an interstate motor carrier, after SRT lost a shipment of pharmaceutical products it had agreed to transport for Exel on behalf of Exel’s client, Sandoz. On summary judgment, the district court awarded Exel the replacement value of the lost goods pursuant to the transportation contract between Exel and SRT, rejecting SRT’s argument that its liability was limited under the Carmack Amendment to the Interstate Commerce Act, 49 U.S.C. 14706. The Sixth Circuit reversed. Whether SRT had limited its liability was a question of fact for a jury. To limit its liability under the Carmack Amendment, a carrier must: provide the shipper with a fair opportunity to choose between two or more levels of liability obtain the shipper’s written agreement as to its choice of liability; and issue a receipt or bill of lading prior to moving the shipment. SRT did not meet its burden on summary judgment of establishing that it provided Sandoz with the opportunity to choose between two or more levels of liability. SRT did not explain what “classification or tariff . . . govern[ed]” the shipment, nor indicate whether it made this information available to Sandoz. View "Exel, Inc. v. S. Refrigerated Transp., Inc." on Justia Law