Sperry v. Crompton Corp.: New York Court of Appeals Rules that Treble Damages Are Unavailable in Class Actions Brought Under the Donnelly Act


The New York Court of Appeals has held in Sperry v. Crompton Corp. that treble damages constitute a penalty for the purposes of CPLR 901(b), and thus cannot be sought in class actions based on the Donnelly Act, New York’s state antitrust statute. Given the unavailability of treble

damages in class actions brought under the Donnelly Act, the decision likely will result in a decrease in the number of state antitrust cases filed under the Donnelly Act.

Sperry filed this purported class action suit on behalf of a class of consumers who purchased tires manufactured with defendants’ chemical products. Among other things, plaintiffs claimed that defendants engaged in price-fixing and overcharging tire manufacturers, which in turn resulted in higher costs for consumers and violated New York’s Donnelly Act and other sections of the New

York General Business Law.

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