Tag: Sherman Act

High speed internet

Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007)

FACTS: William Twombly and Lawrence Marcus (Respondents) argues Bell Atlantic Corporation (Petitioners) conspired to prevent access to Respondents’ telephone and high speed internet services markets. Respondents also argue the Petitioners violated § 1 of the Sherman Act when they impeded competition and, allotted markets and customers to each other.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY: Respondents sued Petitioners for violations of the Sherman Act. The district court dismissed Respondents’ complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Respondents appealed to the Second Circuit and, it reversed the district court’s decision. Petitioners appealed to the SCOTUS and it granted certiorari.

JUDGMENT: Reversed and remanded.

ISSUE: What must a plaintiff plead in order to state a claim under § 1 of the Sherman Act?

HOLDING OF THE COURT: Plaintiffs must follow 9(b)-(c)of the Fed. R. Civ. P. and, particularize their factual allegations.

RATIONALE: While the appeals court found plaintiffs do not have to plead plus factors for an antitrust claim to persist, SCOTUS stated under Rule 8(a)(2), plaintiffs must show they are entitled to relief. According to SCOTUS’ rationale, if a plaintiff’s complaint includes blind assertions disguised as factual allegations, a plaintiff is not entitled to relief. Rule 9(b)-(c).

SYNTHESIS: While the Conley Court stated a plaintiff’s complaint need only have a short statement and give defendants fair notice, the Twombly Court disagreed. In fact, it criticized, questioned, and overturned Conley’s “no set of facts” language. In SCOTUS’ view, the plaintiff should expound on the facts, not their legal right to bring suit.