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U.S. Federal Appeals Court Rules in Favor of FTC in Case Against Chicago Bridge & Iron Co.

 |  January 28, 2008

Appeals Court Upholds FTC Opinion That 2001 Acquisition of Pitt-Des Moines was Anticompetitive

From the FTC Release:
(Link to the entire release available in the column on the left)

In a decision announced today [Friday, January 25], the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled in favor of the Federal Trade Commission, denying a petition by Chicago Bridge & Iron Company (CB&I) to review an administrative FTC opinion that CB&I illegally acquired certain assets of Pitt-Des Moines, Inc. (PDM) in February 2001, during a pending FTC investigation. The Circuit Court’s ruling ends litigation in the case against CB&I and upholds the FTC’s administrative opinion that the acquisition substantially lessened competition in four relevant markets for industrial storage tanks in the United States.

According to the Circuit Court decision, the FTC correctly applied the legal standards of burdens of proof and persuasion in its 2005 administrative opinion, properly analyzed the “potential entry” defense, and had substantial evidence to conclude that “potential entry” evidence was insufficient to rebut the prima facie case against the respondents. In addition, the Court found that the Commission relied on substantial evidence for its factual findings and that it did not abuse its discretion in issuing the remedy provisions, calling them “not overbroad nor punitive.” Finally, the Court found that a separate evidentiary hearing was not required in this case, as claimed by CB&I, and that the Commission “did not abuse its discretion” in denying CB&I’s request for a rehearing and an additional evidentiary hearing on the remedy the Commission would impose.