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Pacific Seafood Antitrust Lawsuit Still On Course


WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 4, 2012

By Terry Dillman

A class action antitrust lawsuit filed in June 2010 against Clackamas, Oregon-based Pacific Seafood Group (PSG) is still tacking toward a requested court showdown, despite some legal course changes along the way.

Initially filed by Portland law firm Haglund Kelley Horngren Jones & Wilder LLP for Brookings-based fishermen Lloyd Whaley and Todd Whaley and as many as 3,000 other “similarly situated fishermen and fishing vessel owners,” the lawsuit alleges monopolization of the Dungeness crab, Oregon coldwater (pink) shrimp, groundfish, and whiting seafood markets along the West Coast by PSG and its owner Frank Dulcich. Prices paid to fishermen are the central issue. The complaint alleges that PSG uses its market share of 50 to 70 percent in each of those four critical fisheries and coordinates with other processors to drive down those prices, thus violating federal antitrust laws.

The original complaint also featured an allegation of conspiracy to restrain trade, which disappeared in the filing of a first amended complaint in August 2010. The plaintiffs’ lead attorney Michael Haglund said they re-filed after learning that Dulcich owns PSG outright and is not just a majority partner.

Antitrust laws say “you can’t conspire with yourself,” said Haglund, noting that they weren’t aware of the 57-company conglomerate’s full organization at the time of the initial filing, and that it’s common to re-file a case after such discoveries.

The complaint has since undergone two more iterations, and the latest re-filing in July 2011 added Newport-based pink shrimp fisherman Jeff Boardman, Brookings-based... http://fnonlinenews.blogspot.com/2012/01/pacific-seafood-antitrust-lawsuit-still.html