Salmon Price-Fixing Litigation Survives Dismissal

Bilzin Sumberg
Contact

Bilzin Sumberg

On March 26, 2021, Southern District of Florida District Court Judge Cecilia Altonaga denied a motion to dismiss an antitrust class action alleging a conspiracy to fix the price of farm-raised Atlantic salmon globally.[1]

According to the Plaintiffs’ Second Consolidated Amended Complaint, the Defendants engaged in a conspiracy to increase salmon prices by manipulating the NASDAQ Salmon Index that provides weekly spot market pricing for salmon in Norway.[2] The NASDAQ Salmon Index was created in 2013 when the conspiracy is alleged to have begun.[3] Because the majority of the world’s salmon comes from Norway, the NASDAQ Salmon Index serves as the benchmark for salmon pricing around the world.[4]

Defendants are alleged to have coordinated to have their subsidiaries make spot market purchases at supra-competitive prices, thereby creating the appearance of greater consumer demand, which in turn drove the Index price upward.[5] This allowed Defendants to charge artificially high prices globally.[6]

The Court held that that the allegations of increased index prices, parallel price movements, and record profits during the class period were sufficient to allege Defendants’ “shift from competition to cooperation”[7] when considered with other circumstantial evidence of a conspiracy.[8] For example, the Complaint alleges that salmon prices rose notwithstanding declining production costs and a decrease in demand due to a Russian import ban.[9] The Complaint further alleges that the Salmon producer Defendants had access to one another’s confidential pricing data through mutual participation in industry trade associations.[10] The Court also noted the ongoing parallel antitrust investigations by the European Commission and Department of Justice.[11]

We will continue to monitor and provide updates on this case and others relevant to our food and beverage clients.

 

[[1] In re Farm-Raised Salmon and Salmon Prods. Antitrust Litig., S.D. Fla. Case No. 1:19-cv-21551, ECF No. 307 (Order).
[2] In re Farm-Raised Salmon and Salmon Prods. Antitrust Litig., S.D. Fla. Case No. 1:19-cv-21551, ECF No. 251-1 (Second Amended Consolidated Complaint) at 3.
[3] Id. at 35.
[4] Id. at 34.
[5] Id. at 40.
[6] Id.
[7] Id. at 27.
[8] Order, at 33.
[9] Second Amended Consolidated Complaint, at 63.
[10] Id. at 49.
[11] Order, at 33.]

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Bilzin Sumberg | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Bilzin Sumberg
Contact
more
less

Bilzin Sumberg on:

Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
- hide
- hide

This website uses cookies to improve user experience, track anonymous site usage, store authorization tokens and permit sharing on social media networks. By continuing to browse this website you accept the use of cookies. Click here to read more about how we use cookies.