Court: Some Rail Rate Talks Allowed In Price-Fixing Suits – Omaha, Nebraska

Omaha, Nebraska 2022-05-20 02:00:00 –

Omaha, Nebraska (AP) — Some of the details of the nation’s four largest railroad tariff negotiations will be included in a lawsuit against the multi-billion dollar bills that railroads claim, but this week Mixed judgments of the Federal Court of Appeals are also excluded in some documents.

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruling comes from dozens of proceedings accusing Union Pacific, BNSF, Norfolk Southern, and CSX Railroad of raising rates with fuel surcharges adjusted between 2003 and 2007. To protect, it can cause more controversy over evidence. ..

The key to determining what evidence is accepted is whether the conversation is related to freight crossing multiple railroads. The court said it was “unreasonable” to exclude discussions about traffic that stayed on a single railroad and conversations about all freight, but federal law allows railroads to adjust for shared freight.

These price-fixing allegations have been creeping up in court since 2007. The proceedings were part of a class proceeding involving as many as 16,000 shippers in various industries, but companies were forced to file their own proceedings after the appeal. The court dismissed the class action in 2019.

Stephen Neuworth, one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers, said the ruling was on all transportation by major companies that filed proceedings, including food producer Campbell Soup, major utility Dominion Energy, and automaker Hyundai. He said it should help show that we have talked about applying fuel surcharges to generate electricity. Profit.

“The court’s ruling will help the jury see evidence of the defendant’s collusion and ensure that the railroad is not effectively exempt from antitrust law,” Newworth said. ..

But the railroad praised Wednesday’s ruling. He said that conversations about the cargo they shared could be excluded from the proceedings.

In a statement, Union Pacific spokeswoman Robin Taisbar said, “The DC Circuit Court of Appeals acknowledged Congress’s intention to prevent regular line-to-line communications from being used to infer illegal plots. Thank you. “

Other major freight railroads did not immediately comment on the ruling. In the proceedings, they alleged that fuel surcharges were legal and were merely intended to recover the cost of fuel that soared at the time it was imposed. Similar charges are common in the transportation industry.

A law permitting freight railroads to cooperate in processing mutual deliverables as they cross the country is part of a decision made by Congress during the deregulation of railroads in 1980. Federal law encourages competition between railroads, but is allowed to coordinate about the freight they share to ensure the continuity of the country’s rail network.

The four major railroads are operated by Union Pacific based in Omaha, Nebraska and BNSF based in Fort Worth, Texas in the western United States, and cross-country annually in CSX and Atlanta based in Jacksonville, Texas. We process most of the million cargo. Based in Norfolk Southern, it competes for cargo in the east.

Court: Some Rail Rate Talks Allowed In Price-Fixing Suits Source link Court: Some Rail Rate Talks Allowed In Price-Fixing Suits

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