Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law

Competition: Fall 2014, Vol. 23, No. 2

WHY ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS SHOULD BE USED TO ASSESS STANDING IN CARTWRIGHT ACT CASES

By Anna M. Fabish1

I. INTRODUCTION

Courts are far from united in evaluating antitrust standing for indirect purchasers under California’s antitrust laws—an inconsistency the California Supreme Court has yet to address. The solution, however, has been available for decades: the multi-factor analysis set forth by the United States Supreme Court in Associated General Contractors v. Cal. State Council of Carpenters ("AGC").2 The decision provides a nuanced framework for assessing antitrust standing in all Cartwright Act claims, including—indeed, especially—claims by indirect purchasers.

The underlying principles of AGC, as well as the results of courts applying the AGC factors to Cartwright Act claims to date,3 reveal that AGC and the Cartwright Act are consistent and complementary sources of law. AGC is persuasive federal precedent that can—and, in the interest of helping courts navigate the complex questions of antitrust standing for indirect purchasers, should—be applied to Cartwright Act claims.

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