The Firm represents direct purchasers of farm raised Atlantic salmon in an antitrust action pending in the Southern District of Florida (Miami) alleging that, beginning as early as 2015, several salmon producers conspired to artificially fix and raise the price for farm raised Atlantic salmon sold in the United States. The case stems from investigations and raids in Europe of Norwegian-owned companies farming Atlantic salmon over serious concerns about potential cartel activity. In early 2019, Europe's competition watchdog said that it had raided several companies as part of an investigation into suspected violations of rules prohibiting cartels and other restrictive business practices.
On March 23, 2021, the Court denied the Defendants’ motion to dismiss the Complaint, and held that the Complaint sufficiently alleged facts necessary to plead a plausible conspiracy. The relevant facts supporting the Court’s conclusion include: (1) the Norwegian Defendants’ (or their co-venturers’) participation in the NASDAQ Salmon Index; (2) Defendants’ coordinated manipulation of salmon prices by reporting inflated sales prices to the NASDAQ; (3) the increase in prices for salmon despite stable or declining production costs and dwindling demand due to the described Russian ban; (4) Defendants’ use of spot market transactions to drive higher Index prices; (5) interfirm and intrafirm communications discussing the avoidance of price competition and encouraging cooperation; (6) U.S. pricing charts, which show parallel price movements by several Defendants; (7) Defendants’ access to pricing and market-share information; (8) Defendants’ transition from battling each other to cooperating during the relevant period; and (9) parallel ongoing antitrust investigations by regulators in the United States and Europe.
The case is In Re Farm-Raised Salmon and Salmon Products Litigation (Docket No. 1:19-cv-21551) and the Court’s decision denying Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss can be found here (link).