PHILADELPHIA (Aug. 10, 2010)—Specialty Tires of America Inc. is petitioning the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit to rehear its appeal of an antitrust suit against fellow race tire maker Hoosier Racing Tire Corp., arguing that the court “misapprehended” key elements of the case and ignored precedent.
STA's petition calls for the court to rehear the case “en banc,” meaning the entire court should hear the case, not just a three-judge panel as happened in the original appeal, which the court dismissed July 23.
“The obvious existence of disputed issues of fact, the evidence of consumer harm and market power, the existence of a prima facie antitrust violation, and the “particular trouble” the panel had with the evidence of exclusion and collusion, combined with the industry-wide importance of this case and the procedural posture of summary judgment, all strongly militate in favor of rehearing and rehearing en banc,” STA said in its petition.
STA said the case—which calls into question the practice of how “spec” racing tire contracts are negotiated—not only is “of national importance to the motorsports industry,” but one that the panel itself “expressly recognized that its decision affects the entire business of sports.”
In addition, STA said, the panel's opinion “obviously conflicts” with other antitrust decisions handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court, most notably Eastman Kodak Co., the National Collegiate Athletic Association and American Needle Inc.
In its petition, STA pointed to several instances where the panel acknowledged being “troubled” by the circumstances of the practice, yet went ahead and affirmed judgment by “creating a new rule of law for sports-related” defendants.