Bona Law Files Antitrust Lawsuit Against Cement and Ready Mix Companies in Atlanta Federal Court
November 20, 2020
Bona Law attorneys Jarod Bona and Aaron Gott filed an antitrust complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta) on behalf of two Savannah, Georgia-based ready mix concrete companies Monday July 24, 2017 alleging conspiracies among cement and other ready mix suppliers in coastal Georgia and southeast coastal South Carolina.
The complaint, which Bona Law filed on behalf of Southeast Ready Mix, LLC and Mayson Concrete, Inc. alleges injury stemming from two separate but related conspiracies in the markets for cement and ready mix concrete. This lawsuit alleges that a cement cartel comprising Argos North America Corp., Holcim (US), Inc., and Cemex agreed to fix prices and conspired to monopolize the market.
More specifically, the complaint alleges that the “participants in the cement cartel have, since at least 2012, conspired to fix prices by agreeing to periodic coordinated price increases, which they typically explain in price increase letters to customers as arising from increased material and distribution costs.” (p.2).
Southeast and Mayson also allege that a ready mix concrete cartel, including Argos and several southeast Georgia-based ready mix concrete companies, allocated customers, rigged bids, and engaged in group boycotts of nonparticipating competitors as part of a long-running scheme to fix the price of ready mix concrete: “Each time a new rival enters the market, the existing suppliers either convince them to join the ready mix cartel or run them out of business through predatory collusion and other exclusionary acts.” (p. 2-3).
Bona Law’s clients allege that Argos, the ringleader of both cartels, used its dominant and cartel position in the cement market to benefit its ready mix cartel scheme.
The complaint seeks relief for violations of Section 1 and Section 2 of the Sherman Act, as well as Georgia state law for restraint of trade and tortious interference with business relationships.
As a result of defendants’ anticompetitive and illegal conduct, the complaint alleges that Southeast Ready Mix and Mayson were forced to pay supracompetitive prices as consumers of cement, an essential ingredient of ready mix concrete. As ready mix competitors, they were targeted for exclusion from the market by the ready mix cartel—a scheme that forced Mayson out of business in 2012 and has hampered Southeast Ready Mix’s ability to compete. Together, the companies have suffered significant damages. They seek injunctive relief, treble damages, and attorneys’ fees.