BNSF Obtains Dismissal of Antitrust Claim

Munger Tolles successfully represented BNSF Railway, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, in a price-fixing and monopolization case brought by Oxbow Carbon & Minerals against BNSF and Union Pacific Railroad Co.

U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman for the District of Columbia dismissed the case on Feb. 26 for failure to state a claim under the Sherman Antitrust Act. Oxbow had alleged that BNSF and Union Pacific conspired to fix prices and monopolize rail transportation services for coal and petroleum coke in the Western United States. In dismissing the complaint, Judge Friedman held that Oxbow had failed to allege injury from the alleged price-fixing, that its conspiracy to monopolize claim depended upon a “shared monopoly” theory, which is not viable under the Sherman Act, and that Oxbow had failed to adequately allege the “when, where, how, why, and what” of the alleged conspiracy to monopolize.

Bradley S. Phillips and Henry Weissmann represented BNSF. Mr. Phillips argued the motion to dismiss in federal court in Washington, D.C. Oxbow was represented by David Boies of Boies Schiller & Flexner LLP.

Mr. Phillips and Mr. Weissmann are litigation partners based in Los Angeles. Mr. Phillips has represented many major companies in complex antitrust matters in both the trial and appellate courts. Mr. Weissmann represents organizations operating in regulated industries in administrative proceedings, high-stakes class actions, and challenges to government regulations.

The case is Oxbow v. Union Pacific, 11-01049, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia.