Experian wins unanimous dismissal of antitrust claim in Nebraska Supreme Court
Clients Experian Information Solutions
On March 22, 2013, the Nebraska Supreme Court unanimously rejected an antitrust claim brought against Jones Day client Experian Information Solutions, Inc. (“Experian”). In 2008, Experian stopped selling credit reports to the plaintiff, Credit Bureau Services, Inc. (“CBS”), because CBS refused to pay its outstanding bills or to meet the monthly minimum for purchases of Experian credit reports. CBS brought claims against Experian for violation of a Nebraska antitrust law provision that makes it unlawful to “do any act for the purpose of driving out of business any other person.” Neb. Rev. Stat. § 59-805. The trial court allowed the claim to go to a jury, and the jury found for Experian. CBS appealed from the jury’s verdict.
The Nebraska Supreme Court affirmed the judgment in Experian’s favor, holding that the case should never have reached the jury because Experian was entitled to a directed verdict in its favor. The Court stated that section 59-805 prohibits only those acts done with the sole purpose to drive the plaintiff out of business, and that “out of business” means the complete cessation of business operations by the plaintiff. Applying those interpretations to the facts here, the Court recognized that Experian’s monthly minimum purchase requirement was intended to reduce the risk of any mishandling of Experian data by resellers and their customers, and to ensure reseller compliance with Experian’s policies. The Court held that there was no evidence that Experian's monthly minimum purchase requirement was instituted with the intent to drive CBS out of business. Accordingly, Experian was entitled to a directed verdict and dismissal of the antitrust claim.
Credit Bureau Services., Inc. v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc., 828 N.W. 2d 147 (Neb. 2013)