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In Re: Processed Egg Products

3rd Circuit

June 22, 2020

In this antitrust class action, the plaintiffs, who were purchasers of eggs, claimed the defendant egg producers conspired to inflate prices using three methods to do so. Before the District Court, the plaintiffs argued that all three of those methods were part of a single overarching conspiracy that was anti-competitive per se and therefore unlawful under the Sherman Act. The defendants countered that the District Court should look at each alleged method of the conspiracy separately and determine whether to apply the per se standard for antitrust liability or, instead, the more commonly applied rule of reason. The District Court decided to evaluate it under the rule of reason and, after trial, entered judgment in favor of the defendants. The plaintiffs appeal and argued the conspiracy should have been evaluated under the standard of per se illegality rather than the rule of reason. The Third Circuit affirmed and held that District Courts may consider the different components of an alleged conspiracy separately when determining which mode of antitrust analysis to apply.

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