Plaintiffs Motion for Court to Compel Guardian to Produce Certain Documents in Anti-Trust Suit
July 28, 2009
The plaintiffs in a class-action suit alleging that several glass
manufacturers engaged in a conspiracy to fix prices have filed a
motion to compel Guardian Industries to provide several documents
to the court that were produced in the European Commission (EC)
investigation. The plaintiffs' most recent motion was filed last
week in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania,
and the court has not yet made a ruling on the motion.
"Production of EC documents will not violate principles of
comity, and, at a minimum, Guardian should be required to produce
all pre-existing documents it produced to the EC," reads the
memorandum in support of the motion. "Plaintiffs are entitled
to broad discovery where, as here, the requests are relevant to
the ongoing litigation."
The plaintiffs, which include a range of glass shop representatives
across the United States, note that the only document related to
the EC decision that Guardian has produced is the decision itself.
"Although Guardian acknowledged having other responsive documents,
it unilaterally ended the parties' discovery conferences and told
Plaintiffs that they must bring a motion to compel," continues
In November 2007, the EC had levied fines against Guardian Industries,
Pilkington, Saint-Gobain and AGC Flat Glass Europe for alleged price-fixing
practices in the European flat glass market (CLICK
HERE for related story.) In November 2008, further fines were
imposed on Asahi, Pilkington, Saint-Gobain and Soliver for illegal
market sharing and exchange of information regarding deliveries
of auto glass in the European Economic Area (CLICK
HERE for related story.)
Though the investigations leading up to the fines are now complete,
the plaintiffs claim that when the EC was gathering information,
it "had to seize Guardian's documents in an official raid based
on information from another company."
The plaintiffs argue that the information relevant to the EC investigation
also is relevant to the suit, and that broad information, including
that regarding the company's European operations, is necessary for
discovery in such a case.
"Because direct evidence of an antitrust conspiracy is often
unavailable, courts take a liberal view of relevance and permit
broad discovery," continues the memo. "
were involved in parallel cartels during the class period. Their
pricing behavior in the United States did not change until the EC
raided Defendants' European counterparts
not allege a global conspiracy for the EC documents to be discoverable."
Finally, the plaintiffs' claim that the production of documents
related to the EC investigation would be simple.
"Guardian has already collected, segregated and reviewed the
" reads the memo. "Guardian can make
these documents available to Plaintiffs in short order and with
virtually no additional effort."
Plaintiffs include a list of glass companies, including both auto
and flat, throughout the United States. (CLICK
HERE for related story, including a full list of plaintiffs.)
In addition to Guardian, among the other defendants are Pilkington
North America ad PPG Industries. Plaintiffs allege that the manufacturers
agreed to raise and fix prices "through a combination of collusive
energy surcharges and price increases."
The manufacturers previously had motioned for the judge to dismiss
the suit. The motion was denied in February.
HERE for full text of recent motion.
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