The Supreme Court has granted leave to appeal from a pair of British Columbia Court of Appeal decisions that overturned orders certifying price-fixing claims as class actions. In both instances, the majority held that parties which purchased products indirectly from a non-defendant down the distribution chain have no cause of action against the defendants in relation to an alleged unlawful conspiracy to fix the product price.
Although bar orders have become a mainstay in the settlement of complex multi-party litigation, including price-fixing cases, a recent Supreme Court's decision leaves unanswered the question of whether a non-settling defendant has a right to seek contribution and indemnity from a settling defendant for Competition Act and intentional tort claims.
In a recent important decision the Federal Court of Appeal confirmed a June 2009 Competition Tribunal decision in a refusal to deal case. This unanimous decision clarifies the scope of Section 75 of the Competition Act - a civil refusal to deal provision that, in certain circumstances, may allow a business to obtain an order requiring a supplier to accept the business as a customer.
The Competition Tribunal has dismissed an application which would have forced the largest chicken producer in New Brunswick and two smaller producers to continue selling their entire production of live chickens to the applicant, despite there being no contract of supply between the parties. The ruling afforded the tribunal an opportunity to clarify the scope of Section 75 of the Competition Act, which deals with refusal to deal.