In re Refined Petroleum Products Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 1886 (U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas)

Between 2007 and 2011, Eimer Stahl successfully represented CITGO Petroleum Corporation in a multidistrict action consolidated in the Southern District of Texas alleging that CITGO participated in a conspiracy among the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, the government of Venezuela, and several oil companies, including Saudi Arabian Oil Company d/b/a Saudi Aramco, Motiva Enterprises LLC, OAO Lukoil, and Getty Petroleum Marketing, Inc. to control oil production and raise, fix, and stabilize the price of gasoline and other oil-based products in the United States.  The complaints sought billions of dollars in damages under the Sherman and Clayton Antitrust Acts.  Nate Eimer of Eimer Stahl served as head of the group coordinating the joint defense to the actions.    

The defendants moved to dismiss both complaints on various grounds, and on January 9, 2009, the district court issued an order dismissing all claims against all defendants, based on the act of state doctrine, the political question doctrine, and a failure to allege a plausible conspiracy among the oil companies to fix the price of refined petroleum products within the United States.  Plaintiffs filed an appeal in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and argument was heard on March 1, 2010.  Nate Eimer co-argued the case for the defendants.  The United States government filed an amicus brief on August 16, 2010, urging the Fifth Circuit to affirm the district court.  On February 8, 2011, the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s order of dismissal on both political question and act of state grounds.  The plaintiffs filed petitions for a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court of the United States, which the Supreme Court denied.