Molson and Anheuser win full dismissal of Mountain Crest (Minhas) antitrust lawsuit.

You’ll recall that the court had recently dismissed this matter finding that Minhas’s second amended complaint (Mountain Crest SRL, LLC) had failed to allege Molson and Anhueser violated federal antitrust laws by conspiring to harm Minhas through their distribution and marketing practices at beer stores in Ontario, Canada. This was only after the Seventh Circuit had reversed an initial dismissal remanding for the lower court to make determinations about the second amended complaint for a detailed explanation from the court not regarding the challenges Minhas had brought over practices under the Ontario six-pack rule, but about whether Minhas had properly alleged other causes of action that weren’t barred by the act of state doctrine: (1) “antecedent and allegedly deliberate acts to bring about the six-pack rule”; and (2) “a pattern of other marketing and distribution practices that. . . disfavor[ed] American products, including Mountain Crest’s product.”

The court analyzed the second amended complaint noting Minhas hadn’t moved to file a third-amended complaint and found that the alleged anti-competitive behavior had a flawed causation premise that, when corrected, meant exceptions to the Sherman Act applied and barred the claims. Those interested in Noerr-Pennington and other issues related to causation regarding antitrust claims will want to read that district court opinion linked above.

Minhas didn’t like that decision, and argued the court should give it a fourth try (to file a third amended complaint). But the court disagreed and again noted that the plaintiff had ample opportunity to plead and could have proposed a new complaint on remand and not waited.

This case is three years old, and plaintiff has already amended its complaint twice, both times in response to defendants’ contentions that Mountain Crest’s conspiracy allegations against the defendants were deficient. See Dkt. 30 and Dkt. 49. And, as defendants point out, Mountain Crest expressly declined to amend its complaint after the remand, even after defendants suggested that it should. See Dkt. 118-1 (“[I]t does not make procedural sense for us to address our remaining dismissal arguments to the pending complaint if you plan to further amend it.”). And even after defendants asked for dismissal with prejudice in their motion to dismiss, Mountain Crest still didn’t ask for leave to replead in its opposition brief.

This case raises complex issues and generated substantial briefing. Mountain Crest’s proposed amended complaint is more than 300 pages long. See Dkt. 110-1. Mountain Crest says that this is its first opportunity to address the shortcomings identified by the court in its order, but the court isn’t persuaded that its order raised any surprise to Mountain Crest. Mountain Crest has had numerous opportunities to correct the defects in its complaint, but it declined to do so earlier. Under these circumstances, the court concludes that Mountain Crest isn’t entitled to hit the reset button again. 

Ashley Brandt

Hi there! I’m happy you’re here. My name is Ashley Brandt and I’m an attorney in Chicago representing clients in the Food and Beverage, Advertising, Media, and Real Estate industries. A while back I kept getting calls and questions from industry professionals and attorneys looking for advice and information on a fun and unique area of law that I’m lucky enough to practice in. These calls represented a serious lack of, and need for, some answers, news, and information on the legal aspects of marketing and media. I've got this deep seeded belief that information should be readily available and that the greatest benefit from the information age is open access to knowledge... so ... this blog seemed like the best way to accomplish that. I enjoy being an attorney and it’s given me some amazing opportunities, wonderful experiences, and an appreciation and love for this work. I live in Chicago and work at an exceptional law firm, Goldstein & McClintock, with some truly brilliant people. Feel free to contact me at any time with any issues, comments, concerns… frankly, after reading this far, I hope you take the time to at least let me know what you think about the blog and how I can make it a better resource.

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