PITTSBURGH (Sept. 28, 2009)—A U.S. District Court judge in Pittsburgh has dismissed a two-year-old antitrust lawsuit by Specialty Tires of America Inc. against Hoosier Racing Tire Corp. and World Racing Group Inc., saying STA did not demonstrate it had sustained injury due to antitrust activities.
Terrence F. McVerry, U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania, granted a request Sept. 15 for summary judgment by Hoosier and Dirt Motor Sports, saying STA did not have standing to bring this action.
STA said it was disappointed in the judge's decision and intends “to fully consider and pursue all their legal options, including an appeal.”
STA said the court dismissed its complaint without the benefit of a jury trial and without considering the “abundant evidence” provided by STA of the exercise of monopoly power by Hoosier, the foreclosure of competitors from the market, the barriers to competition created by the defendants and the collusive behavior of Hoosier and race sanctioning groups.
STA sued Hoosier in October 2007, alleging Hoosier was using its monopoly power in the dirt oval track market to eliminate competition for the sale of racing tires. Specifically, STA accused Hoosier of excluding competition by entering into exclusive, long-term agreements with major sanctioning companies so that they will specify only Hoosier tires at races they sanction in return for “large payments.”
Dirt Motor Sports, a racing sanctioning body, was named later as an additional defendant.
In his decision, Judge McVerry wrote: “...The summary judgment record demonstrates that the sanctioning bodies clearly want single tire rules, and that both Hoosier and STA compete to have their tires selected. Competition to become the exclusive supplier 'is a vital form of rivalry, and often the most powerful one, which the antitrust laws encourage rather than suppressà'”
Hoosier Tire President Bob Newton said the court's decision is “good news for promoters, teams and drivers who for 25 years enjoyed the cost control and parity resulting from one-tire rules.”
The quarter-century remark refers to a lawsuit in 1984 involving Hoosier Tire and M&H Racing Tires that established the legality of one-tire rules, according to Hoosier.