Suing OPEC

University Pittsburgh Law Review, Vol. 64, No. 105, 2002

58 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2002

See all articles by Spencer Weber Waller

Spencer Weber Waller

Loyola University Chicago School of Law


The prominence of OPEC and its continuing efforts to restrict world-wide oil production with its attendant effects on price make it an inviting target from the point of view of US antitrust law yet the federal government has never taken enforcement action against OPEC or its member states. There have only been two private antitrust suits, one unsuccessful in the 1970s and one recently vacated default judgment injunction against OPEC as an organization now being litigated on the merits, which even if upheld is likely to be ineffective in the real world. It is widely believed that sovereign immunity, the act of state doctrine and other special international defenses preclude suit against OPEC and its member nations. This article analyzes why in fact there are no legal doctrinal barriers to such a suit by certain plaintiffs seeking certain kinds of relief, but that such action would be ineffectual, counterproductive, and against the overall interests of the US.

Suggested Citation

Waller, Spencer Weber, Suing OPEC. Available at SSRN: or

Spencer Weber Waller (Contact Author)

Loyola University Chicago School of Law ( email )

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