Cases & Deals

Marathon secures Daubert and summary judgment wins dismissing Kentucky AG's antitrust claims

Client(s) Marathon Petroleum Corporation

Jones Day secured dismissals on behalf of Marathon Petroleum Corporation ("Marathon Corp."), Marathon Petroleum Company, LP ("MPC LP"), and Speedway LLC ("Speedway," and collectively, "Marathon") in an antitrust suit brought by the Commonwealth of Kentucky seeking more than $173.6 million in damages related to the sale of reformulated gasoline ("RFG") in Louisville and Northern Kentucky (collectively, "NKY").

The Commonwealth filed its suit in May 2015; MPC LP engaged Jones Day in early 2017 to take over as lead counsel. Thereafter, the Commonwealth twice amended its complaint, including to add Marathon Corp. and Speedway as defendants. After five years of litigation, Judge David J. Hale granted Marathon's motion to exclude the Commonwealth's only expert witness, as well as its motion for summary judgment. With regard to the motion to exclude, the court accepted each of Marathon's arguments, finding that the Commonwealth's expert failed to use acceptable methods to (1) demonstrate a causal link between Marathon and any claimed harm to consumers, (2) define the relevant market, or (3) properly disaggregate damages. The court went on to grant Marathon's summary judgment motion because, without admissible expert testimony, the Commonwealth had insufficient evidence to support its purported relevant antitrust market or to demonstrate antitrust injury. On the latter point, the court reasoned that, as the Commonwealth's expert had admitted, factors other than Marathon's alleged misconduct could have caused the RFG pricing observed in NKY, but the Commonwealth failed to show that its claimed injury flowed from Marathon's allegedly anticompetitive actions rather than those other factors. Judge Hale dismissed the Commonwealth's federal claims with prejudice and declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over its state claims, dismissing those without prejudice.

Commonwealth of Kentucky v. Marathon Petroleum Company LP, No. 3-15-cv-00354 (W.D. Ky.)