A Texas federal court jury awarded $52 million to Houston-based steel distributor MM Steel, LP, which alleged that four big steel companies colluded to organize an illegal boycott against their new company in 2011, Yetter Coleman and its co-counsel said today.
After a six-week trial, the jury in U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt’s court ruled for MM Steel, finding antitrust violations by defendants Nucor Corp., Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co., American Alloy Steel Inc., and JSW Steel (USA) Inc. Under the federal antitrust laws, the damage award will be trebled upon entry of judgment, and MM Steel will be entitled to recover attorneys’ fees.
Filed in 2012, the lawsuit alleged the defendants agreed to deprive MM Steel, a new firm started by longtime industry veterans Matt Schultz and Mike Hume, of a supply of steel necessary for it to compete effectively as a steel distributor in the Gulf Coast region. The eight-woman, two-man jury began hearing the case on February 18.
According to Paul Yetter, “We are gratified by the verdict. It is the decision of a careful, conservative jury that listened to weeks of powerful evidence of a conspiracy among the defendants to destroy MM Steel and stifle competition.”
Mo Taherzadeh notes, “The jury’s verdict sends an important message to all businesses that our antitrust laws protect free enterprise and must be respected. MM Steel deserved to compete on an even playing field, and this verdict vindicates its right to do so,” adding, “I am honored to have worked with the finest lawyers in America in this important matter.”
MM Steel is represented by Paul Yetter, Marc Tabolsky, Bryce Callahan, Doug Griffith, Wyatt Dowling, and Jane Ray of Yetter Coleman LLP, Mo Taherzadeh of the Taherzadeh Law Firm, and Tate Young of the Tate Young Law Firm.The case is MM Steel, LP v. Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co., et al., Case No. 4:12-cv-01227, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.