The Limits of State Indirect Purchaser Suits: Class Certification in the Shadow of Illinois Brick
40 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 1999 Last revised: 22 Sep 2015
Date Written: 1999
In Illinois Brick Co. v. Illinois, the Supreme Court denied indirect purchasers the right to sue for a illegal overcharge, reasoning that concentrating the full right of recovery in direct purchasers would lead to more effective enforcement of the antitrust laws. But several states and the District of Columbia reject the federal rule and authorize indirect purchaser suits. State indirect purchaser litigation undermines Illinois Brick?s policy of efficient deterrence by providing fora in which indirect purchaser classes can sue for damages. In recent years, however, trial courts in many of these jurisdictions have refused to certify indirect purchaser class actions on the ground that issues common to the class did not predominate over individual issues. These cases cast doubt on the wisdom of state Illinois Brick repeals, because they suggest that only a small subset of all indirect purchasers of price-fixed products will satisfy the requirements for class certification. Consequently, despite the enormous burdens indirect purchaser suits impose on state court systems, such suits fail to achieve any meaningful compensation for those actually injured by price-fixing conspiracies.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation