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Landmark Antitrust Arbitration Case Gives Up The Ghost

Posted  November 1, 2010

The landmark United States Supreme Court decision that is expected to be a death blow for class action arbitrations has apparently claimed its first victim, the case itself.

Following its loss in the Supreme Court, AnimalFeeds International has voluntarily dismissed its antitrust action – Stolt-Nielsen S.A. et al. v. AnimalFeeds International Corp. – settling its claims of price fixing for the shipment of liquid chemicals, against defendants Stolt-Nielsen, Odfjell ASA, Jo Tankers BV, and Tokyo Marine Co., Ltd.

Six months ago, the Supreme Court held in April that AnimalFeeds could not pursue class-wide arbitration against the defendants.  In that decision, Justice Alito wrote for a five-to-three majority that the Second Circuit’s decision, which would have imposed class arbitration on the defendants – despite the lack of a contractual basis for imposing class arbitration – “is fundamentally at war with the foundational FAA principle that arbitration is a matter of consent.”

As Antitrust Today commented at time of the Supreme Court decision, “the ruling may well be a death blow for class action arbitrations.”  AnimalFeeds’ action itself certainly proved unable to survive without the class claims.

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