Cleveland-Cliffs and AK Steel obtain complete dismissal of $500 million antitrust claim
Clients Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. and AK Steel Corp.
Jones Day clients Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. and AK Steel Corp. obtained the complete dismissal of an antitrust lawsuit filed in federal court in Houston alleging that they conspired with other steel producers to boycott competitor JSW Steel in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act and Texas state laws.
The allegations in the complaint emanated from the Section 232 steel tariff program implemented by the Department of Commerce in 2018, which imposed tariffs on steel imports. The complaint alleged that the defendants—all domestic steel producers—conspired to oppose JSW’s requests for its steel imports to be excluded from the tariffs and then to refuse to sell steel to JSW. The complaint sought damages of $500 million, before trebling. Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing, inter alia, that plaintiffs failed to allege plausible facts to support an antitrust conspiracy and that the defendants’ alleged conduct was protected First Amendment petitioning activity immune from the antitrust laws.
On February 17, 2022, U.S. District Court Judge Keith Ellison agreed with the defendants and dismissed JSW's initial complaint with prejudice. This was a complete victory for Jones Day’s clients.
JSW Steel (USA) Inc. v. Nucor Corp. et al, No. 4:21-cv-01842 (S.D. Tex.)