Saturday, September 23, 2023
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Potash Price-Fixing Suit to Go Before Full Court

CHICAGO (CN) - A full 7th Circuit panel will rehear arguments in a class action that alleges global price-fixing of potash, a common agricultural fertilizer.

The plaintiffs allege that Canadian, Russian and Belarusian miners have fixed prices in Brazil, China and India. Inflated prices abroad have driven costs up in the United States, according to the complaint.

U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo refused to dismiss the case, finding that the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act did not limit the court's jurisdiction.

But a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit found otherwise in September, saying the act precluded federal court jurisdiction and that no exceptions applied because the alleged anticompetitive conduct did not "involve" imports to the United States or "directly affect" their price.

Arguing that the ruling conflicted with the 7th Circuit's own precedent and a 3rd Circuit decision issued last August, the plaintiffs petitioned for a rehearing en banc. The petition was granted last week, and the court vacated its previous opinion. Oral arguments before the full court are set for Feb. 8.

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