McWane, Inc. v. FTC, No. 14-11363 (11th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
The issue in this case arose from alleged anticompetitive conduct in the ductile iron pipe fittings ("DIPF") market by McWane, Inc., a family-run company headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. In 2009, following the passage of federal legislation that provided a large infusion of money for waterworks projects that required domestic pipe fittings, Star Pipe Products entered the domestic fittings market. In response, McWane, the dominant producer of domestic pipe fittings, announced to its distributors that (with limited exceptions) unless they bought all of their domestic fittings from McWane, they would lose their rebates and be cut off from purchases for 12 weeks. The Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") investigated and brought an enforcement action under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. sec. 45. The Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"), and a divided Commission, found that McWane's actions constituted an illegal exclusive dealing policy used to maintain McWane's monopoly power in the domestic fittings market. The Commission issued an order directing McWane to stop requiring exclusivity from distributors. McWane appealed, challenging nearly every aspect of the Commission's ruling. After thorough review, the Eleventh Circuit found the Commission's factual and economic conclusions were supported by substantial evidence in the record. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the Commission's ruling.