In re Hawaiian & Guamanian Cabotage Antitrust Litig..This Document Relates To: All Cases.

Decision Date30 November 2010
Docket NumberNo. 08–md–1972 TSZ.,08–md–1972 TSZ.
Citation754 F.Supp.2d 1239
CourtU.S. District Court — Western District of Washington


Allen Steyer, Simon R. Goodfellow, Steyer Lowenthal Boodrookas Alvarez & Smith LLP, Laurence D. King, Linda M. Fong, Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP, Bruce L. Simon, Clifford H. Pearson, Daniel Warshaw, Esther L. Klisura, Pearson Simon Warshaw & Pelly LLP, Derek G. Howard, Minami Tamaki LLP, Guido Saveri, Richard Alexander Saveri, Saveri & Saveri Inc, Joseph M. Alioto, Alioto Law Firm, Christopher L. Lebsock, Jon T. King, Michael P. Lehmann, Arthur N. Bailey, Hausfeld LLP, Francis Onofrei Scarpulla, Patrick Bradford Clayton, Zelle Hofmann Voelbel Mason & Gette LLP, Joseph Marid Patane, Law Office of Joseph M. Patane, Lauren Clare Russell, Mario Nunzio Alioto, Trump Alioto Trump & Prescott LLP, San Francisco, CA, Dennis Stewart, Jennifer Anne Kagan, Sarah Pickeral Weber, Hulett Harper Stewart LLP, Christopher M. Burke, Scott & Scott LLP, Bonny E. Sweeney, David W. Mitchell, Thomas J. O'Reardon, II, Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP, San Diego, CA, Jay S. Cohen, Spector Roseman Kodroff & Willis P.C., Jonathan M. Jagher, William G. Caldes, Spector Roseman & Kodroff, Anthony J. Bolognese, Bolognese & Associates LLC, Merrill G. Davidoff, Ruthanne Gordon, Berger & Montague, Philadelphia, PA, John McCarthy, Somers Point, NJ, John C. Murdock, Murdock & Goldenberg Schneider & Groh LPA, Cincinnati, OH, Marc Howard Edelson, Edelson & Associates LLC, Doylestown, PA, Philip A. Steinberg, Bala Cynwyd, PA, Kevin Bruce Love, Hanzman Criden & Love PA, Michael E. Criden, Criden & Love PA, South Miami, FL, Robert J. Kaplan, Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP, Seth R. Gassman, Cohen Milstein Hausfeld & Toll PLLC, Hollis Lee Salzman, Labaton Sucharow LLP, New York, NY, Steve W. Berman, Anthony D. Shapiro, Ronnie S. Spiegel, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, Emilia L. Sweeney, Carney Badley Spellman, Seattle, WA, Glenn J. Stanford, Tam & Stanford, John S. Edmonds, Joy S. Omonaka, Ronald J. Verga, Edmunds & Verga, Honolulu, HI, Thomas V. Girardi, David N. Bigelow, Girardi & Keese, Edward Woods, Drier Stein Kahabrowne Woods George, Walter J. Jack, Engstrom Lipscombe & Lack, Brian S. Kabateck, Richard L. Kellner, Kabateck Brown Kellner LLP, Peter George Safirstein, Jeff S. Westerman, Milberg, Los Angeles, CA, Christina L. Beatty–Walters, N. Robert Stoll, Stoll Stoll Berne Lokting Shlacter, Portland, OR, Ara Ray Jabagchourian, Joseph W. Cotchett, Nanci E. Nishimura, Steven N. Williams, Stuart G. Gross, Cotchett Pitre Simon and McCarthy, Burlingame, CA, Eric M. George, Michael A. Bowse, Dreier Stein Kahan Growne Woods George LLP, Beverly Hills, CA, Norman E. Siegel, Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP, Kansas City, MO, Paul F. Novak, Milberg LLP, Detroit, MI, John Charles Evans, Specter Specter Evans & Manogue P.C., Pittsburgh, PA, Benjamin Doyle Brown, Michael D. Hausfeld, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll LLC, Washington, DC, William Timothy Needham, Janssen Malloy Needham Morrison & Reinholsten LLP, Eureka, CA, Douglas A. Millen, Robert J. Wozniak, Steven A. Kanner, William H. London, Freed Kanner London & Millen LLC, Bannockburn, IL, Harry Shulman, The Mills Law Firm, San Rafael, CA, Edward L. Birk, Michael B. Bittner, Marks Gray, P.A., Jacksonville, FL, Michael I. Fistel, Jr., Holzer, Holzer & Fistel, LLC, Atlanta, GA, Daniel C. Hedlund, Gustafson Gluek PLLC, Elizabeth R. Odette, Richard A. Lockridge, W. Joseph Bruckner, Lockridge Grindal Nauen, Minneapolis, MN, Alex C. Turan, Montura Law Group, Walnut Creek, CA, Donald Chidi Amamgbo, Amamgbo & Associates, Oakland, CA, Reginald Terrell, The Terrell Law Group, Richmond, CA, for Plaintiffs.Michael Cosmann, pro se.George A. Nicoud, III, Joel Steven Sanders, Rachel S. Brass, Rebecca Justice Lazarus, Darin M. Sands, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, San Francisco, CA, Amy B. Manning, Angelo M. Russo, Richard J. Rappaport, Tammy L. Adkins, McGuire Woods, Chicago, IL, Craig D. Bachman, Lane Powell, Portland, OR, Darrel Christopher Menthe, McGuire Woods LLP, Los Angeles, CA, Larry Steven Gangnes, Milo Petranovich, James B. Stoetzer, Lane Powell P.C., Seattle, WA, James W. McCready, III, Seipp Flick & Kissane, Miami, FL, Cristine M. Russell, James M. Riley, Scott David Richburg, Foley & Lardner, LLP, Jacksonville, FL, Timothy Joseph Armstrong, Coral Gables, FL, for Defendants.Eric Chase Roberson, McGuire Woods, LLP, Jacksonville, FL, for Plaintiffs, Defendants.

ORDER NO. 6: Dismissal With Prejudice

THOMAS S. ZILLY, District Judge.

THIS MATTER comes before the Court on defendants' joint motion, docket no. 125, and defendant Alexander & Baldwin, Inc.'s separate motion, docket no. 124, to dismiss the Second Amended Consolidated Class Action Complaint, docket no. 119 (the “Amended Complaint”), pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). Having reviewed all papers filed in support of and in opposition to the motion,1 the Court now enters the following Order.


Plaintiffs initially made the assertions of anticompetitive activities now at issue in separate cases filed in different districts. A number of these cases were transferred to this Court by the Multidistrict Litigation (“MDL”) Panel, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407, and were consolidated for pretrial purposes with cases originally filed in this district. Pursuant to the agreement of the parties, plaintiffs were permitted to file a Consolidated Class Action Complaint (“Consolidated Complaint”). In August 2009, the Court granted defendants' joint motion to dismiss the Consolidated Complaint. Order No. 5 (docket no. 105). The dismissal was without prejudice and was based on two alternative grounds: (i) failure to adequately plead an antitrust claim under the standards set forth in Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007), and its progeny; and (ii) failure to allege an antitrust claim that is not barred by the filed rate doctrine, as articulated in Keogh v. Chicago & N.W. Ry. Co., 260 U.S. 156, 43 S.Ct. 47, 67 L.Ed. 183 (1922), and subsequent cases.2 Although the filed rate doctrine would preclude plaintiffs' antitrust claim even if sufficiently pleaded under Twombly, plaintiffs were given leave to amend in light of their contention that certain types of cargo, namely “bulk cargo” and “forest products,” are statutorily excluded from tariff-filing requirements. See Order No. 5 at 22. After three extensions of time, spanning almost nine months, see Minute Order No. 8 (docket no. 118), plaintiffs filed the Amended Complaint now at issue.

The Amended Complaint incorporates most of the allegations set forth in the earlier Consolidated Complaint. Like the Consolidated Complaint, the Amended Complaint identifies various plaintiffs as purchasers of shipping services between the continental United States and Hawaii, Guam, or both,3 and alleges that defendants,4 providers of such shipping services, violated the Sherman Act,5 by colluding to simultaneously increase fuel surcharges, by sharing vessel capacity, and by conspiring not to enter into extra-tariff rate agreements with customers. Amended Complaint at ¶ 5. In addition, the Amended Complaint asserts that defendants violated the Sherman Act by “allocating customers.” Id., see also id. at ¶¶ 80–81.

In the Amended Complaint, as in the earlier Consolidated Complaint, plaintiffs have artfully avoided directly alleging that the noncontiguous domestic trade is regulated in a manner rendering the filed rate doctrine applicable. See Order No. 5 at 20; compare Amended Complaint at ¶ 100 (indicating that defendants are “permitted” to file tariffs, citing 49 U.S.C. § 13101, which sets forth the transportation policies of the United States, but which contains no provision concerning the filing of tariffs). The Amended Complaint, however, refers indirectly in three ways to the statutory requirement that defendants file their rates with the Surface Transportation Board (“STB”). First, the Amended Complaint pleads that six of the original 25 plaintiffs 6 shipped “bulk cargo” or “forest products,” which are exempt from tariff requirements. See Amended Complaint at ¶¶ 13, 15, 17, 18, 20, & 23; see also 49 U.S.C. § 13702(a)(1).7 Second, the Amended Complaint alleges that defendant Matson Navigation Company, Inc. (“Matson”) has filed at least one tariff that does not comport with the applicable regulations, pursuant to which at least one plaintiff shipped products during the class period. Amended Complaint at ¶¶ 101–104. Third, the Amended Complaint asserts that defendants have colluded not to use extra-tariff written agreements with their customers, as permitted by 49 U.S.C. § 14101(b). 8 See Amended Complaint at ¶¶ 82–84. Thus, the Amended Complaint squarely places the filed rate doctrine at issue, and the Court will first address whether plaintiffs' antitrust claims, even if adequately pleaded, are precluded under Keogh and its progeny. Because the Court concludes that the filed rate doctrine forecloses plaintiffs' antitrust claims, the Court declines to further evaluate whether plaintiffs have satisfied the pleading standards of Twombly.


A complaint can be lacking for one of two reasons: (i) absence of a cognizable legal theory, or (ii) insufficient facts under a cognizable legal claim. Robertson v. Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc., 749 F.2d 530, 534 (9th Cir.1984). In moving under Rule 12(b)(6), defendants present both potential grounds for dismissal, but the Court addresses only the first contention. 9 In ruling on defendants' motion, the Court must assume the truth of the allegations in the Amended Complaint and draw all reasonable inferences in plaintiffs' favor. See, e.g., Usher v. City of Los Angeles, 828 F.2d 556, 561 (9th Cir.1987). The question for the Court is whether the “non-conclusory ‘factual content,’ and reasonable inferences from that content” are “plausibly suggestive of...

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4 cases
  • Sweetwater Valley Farm, Inc. v. Dean Foods Co. (In re Southeastern Milk Antitrust Litig.), Master File No. 2:08–MD–1000.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Tennessee
    • July 14, 2011 this case. At least one other district court has also rejected similar arguments. See In Re Hawaiian & Guamanian Cabotage Antitrust Litigation, 754 F.Supp.2d 1239, 1245 (W.D.Wash.2010). (collecting cases). Given that Professor Rausser's Stage 1 damages opinion includes his recalculation ......
  • Carlin v. Dairyamerica, Inc.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Ninth Circuit
    • August 7, 2012
    ...meaningful agency review a sine qua non for the applicability of the filed rate doctrine. See In re Hawaiian & Guamanian Cabotage Antitrust Litig., 754 F.Supp.2d 1239, 1245–46 (W.D.Wash.2010) (collecting cases that characterize Brown as an “outlier” decision on the issue). The proper inquir......
  • Carlin v. Dairyamerica, Inc.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Ninth Circuit
    • January 11, 2013
    ...meaningful agency review a sine qua non for the applicability of the filed rate doctrine. See In re Hawaiian & Guamanian Cabotage Antitrust Litig., 754 F.Supp.2d 1239, 1245–46 (W.D.Wash.2010) (collecting cases that characterize Brown as an “outlier” decision on the issue). The proper inquir......
  • In re Transpacific Passenger Air Transportation Antitrust Litig.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of California
    • September 23, 2014
    ...regulations that required some shipping rates to be filed but exempted others from filing. In re Hawaiian & Guamanian Cabotage Antitrust Litig., 754 F.Supp.2d 1239, 1253 (W.D.Wash.2010), aff'd 450 Fed.Appx. 685. The court concluded that the STB had exercised its authority to regulate rates ......
2 books & journal articles
  • Antitrust Issues In The Ocean Shipping Industry
    • United States
    • ABA Antitrust Library Transportation Antitrust Handbook
    • December 9, 2014 1995 was not intended to abrogate the applicability of the doctrine to domestic noncontiguous shipping), aff’d on reconsideration , 754 F. Supp. 2d 1239 ( W.D. Wash. 2010), aff’d mem. , 450 F. App’x 685 (9th Cir. 2011); Ocean Logistics Mgmt. v. NPR, Inc., 38 F. Supp. 2d 77, 86-87 (D.P.R.......
  • Table of cases
    • United States
    • ABA Antitrust Library Transportation Antitrust Handbook
    • December 9, 2014
    ...235, 236 Hawaii & Guamanian Cabotage Antitrust Litig., In re, 647 F. Supp. 2d 1250 (W.D. Wash. 2009) aff’d on reconsideration, 754 F. Supp. 2d 1239 (W.D. Wash. 2010), aff’d mem., 450 F. App’x 685 (9th Cir. 2011) .................................................................. 276 Househol......

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