Second Circuit Court Of Appeals Rules That Antitrust Complaint Satisfies Twombly Pleading Standards

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On January 13, 2010, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed a district court's dismissal of a class action lawsuit accusing the major record companies of conspiring in violation of the antitrust laws to fix the prices for music purchased on the internet. See Starr v. Sony BMG Music Entertainment, et al., No. 08-5637-cv (2nd Cir., Jan. 13, 2010) (“Starr”). Specifically, applying the heightened pleading standard required by the United States Supreme Court's decision in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), the Court found that “[t]he present complaint succeeds where Twombly's failed because the complaint alleges specific facts sufficient to plausibly suggest that the parallel conduct alleged was the result of an agreement among the defendants.” While the precise impact of the pleading standard required by Twombly for antitrust cases remains uncertain, for now, the Starr decision will be one that is carefully studied by attorneys bringing, and defending against, antitrust lawsuits.

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