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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
GOLD COAST SWIMMING POOLS, INC.,
on behalf of itself and all others similarly
POOL CORPORATION, SCP
DISTRIBUTORS LLC, and SUPERIOR
POOL PRODUCTS LLC,
CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT
JURY TRIAL DEMANDED
CASE No. ______________
NATURE OF THE ACTION
This is an antitrust class action arising from a conspiracy, in violation of Section 2
of the Sherman Act, to monopolize the market for pool products sold in the United States and to
block potential new entrants into the market. Plaintiff brings this action on behalf of itself
individually, and on behalf of a proposed class of entities that purchased pool products directly
from any defendant (those direct purchasers defined herein as the “Class”) between January 1,
2003 and the present (the “Class Period”).
Defendants Pool Corporation (“Pool Corp”), SCP Distributors LLC (“SCP”) and
Superior Pool Products LLC (“Superior”) (collectively “Defendants”) conspired and utilized
anticompetitive practices to acquire and maintain monopoly power in the pool product market.
The pool product market includes residential and commercial swimming pool and leisure
As a direct and proximate result of the monopoly conspiracy alleged herein,
Defendants prevented competition in the market for pool products by significantly raising the
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costs incurred by its rivals thereby lowering sales, increasing prices and reducing the number of
choices available to consumers for pool products. This conduct injured Plaintiff and the Class in
their business and property.
Plaintiff Gold Coast Swimming Pools, Inc. is a New York corporation with its
principle place of business located at 44 Sea Cliff Ave., Glen Cove, New York 11542.
Defendant Pool Corporation is a Delaware corporation with its principle place of
business located at 109 Northpark Boulevard, Covington, Louisiana 70433.
Defendant SCP Distributors LLC is a Delaware corporation with its principle
place of business located at 109 Northpark Boulevard, Covington, Louisiana 70433.
Defendant Superior Pool Products LLC is a Delaware corporation with its
principle place of business located at 4900 East Landon Drive, Anaheim, California 92807.
AGENTS AND CO-CONSPIRATORS
The acts alleged against Defendants in this Complaint were authorized, ordered,
or done by their officers, agents, employees, or representatives, while actively engaged in the
management and operation of Defendants’ businesses or affairs.
Various persons and/or firms not named as defendants herein may have
participated as co-conspirators in the violations alleged herein and may have performed acts and
made statements in furtherance thereof.
Each Defendant acted as the principal, agent, or joint venturer of, or for, other
Defendants with respect to the acts, violations, and common course of conduct alleged by
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JURISDICTION AND VENUE
This action is brought under Section 4 of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. § 15, to
recover treble damages and reasonable attorney fees from Defendants for the injuries sustained
by Plaintiff and members of the Class by reasons of Defendants’ violations of Section 2 of the
Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2.
Jurisdiction of this Court is founded on 15 U.S.C. § 15 and 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and
Venue is proper in this judicial District pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 15(a) and 22 and
28 U.S.C. § 1391 because during the Class Period one or more of the Defendants resided,
transacted business, were found, or had agents in this District, and part of the events giving rise
to Plaintiffs’ claims occurred and a substantial portion of the affected interstate trade and
commerce described below, has been carried out, in this District.
This Court has personal jurisdiction over each Defendant because, among other
things, each: (a) transacted business in this District; (b) directly or indirectly sold and delivered
pool products in this District; (c) has substantial aggregate contacts with this District; and/or
(d) engaged in an illegal anticompetitive conduct that was directed at, and had the intended effect
of causing injury to, persons and entities residing in, located in, or doing business in this District.
There are over nine million residential pools in the United States, and over
250,000 commercial pools operated by hotels, country clubs, apartment buildings,
municipalities, and others. In 2010, the distribution of pool products was an estimated $3 billion
industry in the United States.
The relevant product market is the Pool Product Distribution Market. “Pool
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Products” are the equipment, products, parts or materials used for the construction, renovation,
maintenance, repair or service of residential and commercial swimming pools. Pool Products
include, among other goods, pumps, filters, heaters, covers, cleaners, steps, rails, diving boards,
pool liners, pool walls, and “white goods” (the parts necessary to maintain pool equipment).
Pool Products do not include pool toys or games, or products used solely for landscaping or
irrigation, Olympic-style pools, or pools used in commercial water parks.
Pool Products are designed and manufactured specifically for residential and
commercial swimming pools. There are no close substitutes for Pool Products, and no other
products significantly constrain their pricing.
Pool distributors, such as PoolCorp, purchase Pool Products from manufacturers,
warehouse them, and then resell those products to pool builders, pool retail stores and pool
service and repair companies (collectively, “Pool Dealers” or “Dealers”). Pool Dealers then sell
the Pool Products to the ultimate consumer: owners of residential and commercial pools.
19. Manufacturers of Pool Products consider wholesale distributors to be a unique
and essential channel for the efficient distribution of their products. Distributors purchase and
warehouse significant volumes of Pool Products throughout the year, allowing manufacturers to
operate their factories year-round notwithstanding the seasonal nature of the pool industry.
Distributors also provide one-stop shopping, timely delivery and the extension of
credit to thousands of Dealers, thereby providing Dealers and manufacturers with significant
transactional efficiencies. Additionally, distributors often help manufacturers administer their
Dealer rebate and warranty programs, and provide expertise to answer Dealers’ product-related
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21. While manufacturers make a small amount of direct sales to larger Dealers, they
cannot easily expand their operations into distribution because of the costs, their lack of expertise
in distribution, and the difficulty of obtaining products to distribute from competing
manufacturers. Distributors are the only available source of Pool Products for the vast majority
of Dealers, which are small mom-and-pop operations that do not have the inventory size or
resources to purchase Pool Products directly from manufacturers. Dealers that buy direct from
manufacturers are not permitted by the manufacturers to participate more broadly in the
wholesale distribution market and sell Pool Products to other Dealers.
The relevant geographic market is the Pool Product Distribution Market in (1) the
United States, or, in the alternative, (2) numerous local geographic markets contained therein,
including, among others: (a) Alabama; (b) California; (c) Florida; (d) Louisiana; (e) Missouri; (f)
New York; (g); Oklahoma; (h) Tennessee; and (i) Texas.
The Pool Product Distribution Market
The Pool Products market is generally very fragmented. There are over 100
manufacturers that produce a small number of product lines, such as pool heaters or diving
boards and rails. However, there are only three manufacturers that sell nearly all the Pool
Products necessary to operate and maintain a pool: Pentair Water Pool and Spa, Inc. (“Pentair”);
Hayward Pool Products, Inc. (“Hayward”); and Zodiac Pool Systems, Inc. (“Zodiac”).
Collectively, these three full-line Pool Products manufacturers represent more than 50 percent of
sales at the wholesale level.
Distributors generally carry all brands of Pool Products across all manufacturers
to satisfy any and all orders from their Dealer customers. It is necessary to sell the products of at
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least one of the three full-line manufacturers to be able to compete effectively as a distributor.
The products of the full-line manufacturers are “must have” products for wholesale distributors
because of the volume of products they represent and the considerable consumer demand for
their products. A positive relationship with these and other manufacturers is critical to the
success of a Pool Products distributor.
In general, manufacturers are willing to sell their products through any credit
worthy distributor that has a physical warehouse and personnel with knowledge of the pool
industry. Manufacturers typically prefer to have two or more distributors selling their products
to ensure that their Dealer customers receive competitive service and prices.
26. Manufacturers advertise and promote their products directly to Dealers to create
pull-through demand at the distribution level, and also offer year-end rebates to distributors
based on the volume of a distributor’s purchases. These year-end rebates represent a significant
component of the ultimate price paid by distributors for Pool Products. Failure to qualify for
these rebates can have a substantial detrimental impact on a distributor’s ability to compete on
PoolCorp’s Monopoly in the Pool Product Distribution Market
PoolCorp is the world’s largest distributor of Pool Products, and operates over
half of all pool distribution facilities in the United States. According to Zacks Investment
Research, PoolCorp has a dominant position, by reason of its market share, in the Pool Product
PoolCorp purchases Pool Products directly from manufacturers and then sells
them to Pool Dealers, who then sell the Pool Products to retailers. According to the same
research firm, PoolCorp also capitalizes on the highly fragmented nature of the Pool Products
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market by using its market power to secure products from manufacturers at better terms than its
customers would be able to achieve on their own, thereby adding value to its customers’
Unlike other distributors that operate in a few local markets or a specific region,
PoolCorp is the only U.S. distributor to operate nationwide. According to Zacks Investment
Research, PoolCorp is the only truly national wholesale distributor focused on the Pool Product
Distribution Market in the U.S.
Through a series of acquisitions, PoolCorp has grown to operate over 200
distribution centers throughout the United States. By way of comparison, the next largest U.S.
distributor operates less than 40 centers. In 2010, PoolCorp had roughly $1.5 billion in net sales
PoolCorp has even greater monopoly power in numerous local geographic
markets across the country, including, among others: (a) Alabama; (b) Louisiana; (c) Missouri;
(d) Oklahoma; (e) Tennessee; and (f) Texas. In these local markets, PoolCorp is the only or the
most dominant distributor in the area, and has maintained a market share of approximately 80
percent or higher for at least the past five years.
PoolCorp’s dominance in these markets is enhanced by its status as the largest
nationwide buyer of Pool Products, often representing 30 to 50 percent of a manufacturer’s total
sales. PoolCorp obtains a significant competitive advantage in the downstream market by
qualifying for large volume discounts from manufacturers that are not available to any other
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By virtue of the anticompetitive conduct hereinafter alleged, PoolCorp foreclosed
new entrants from obtaining Pool Products directly from manufacturers, which created
insurmountable barriers to entering the Pool Product Distribution Market.
PoolCorp’s Exclusionary Practices
Beginning as early as 2003, PoolCorp has engaged in anticompetitive conduct by
foreclosing access to essential inputs and impeding market entry by potential rivals. PoolCorp’s
conduct is intended to and effectively does enable it to improperly maintain and enhance its
monopoly power in the Pool Product Distribution Market. PoolCorp’s conduct has caused injury
to competition and to consumers.
PoolCorp Engaged in an Aggressive Acquisition Strategy to Purchase
Competitors and Obtain Unlawful Monopoly Power
PoolCorp willfully obtained its monopoly power through a strategy of
aggressively acquiring its competitors. Over a period of eight years, PoolCorp purchased the
following seven competitors:
In August 2002, PoolCorp acquired Fort Wayne Pools, Inc. (“FWP”), a large
regional pool distributor with operations in 16 states. FWP was PoolCorp’s then-largest, and
sometimes only, competitor in numerous locations within the United States.
In late 2003, PoolCorp acquired the assets of Litehouse Products’ distribution
division. Litehouse’s primary business was the retail sales of swimming pool and other leisure
products in the Midwest.
On January 3, 2005, PoolCorp acquired Latham International Ltd., an Albany,
New York manufacturer of vinyl swimming pool liners, polymer and steel panels, steps and
other swimming pool products, and its Canadian subsidiary, Pool Tech Distribution Inc.
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In November 2005, PoolCorp also announced the acquisition of the assets of
Direct Replacements, Inc., a Marietta, Georgia packaged pool distributor.
In March 2008, PoolCorp acquired National Pool Tile Group, Inc., a wholesale
distributor of pool tile and composite pool finishes.
In October 2009, PoolCorp announced the acquisition of California pool and spa
products distributor, General Pool & Spa Supply, Inc.
Over a third of PoolCorp’s cash since the company’s inception has been used for
these and other competitor acquisitions. Consistent with PoolCorp’s routine business practice, it
aggressively sought to remove any competitors it perceived as a competitive threat. PoolCorp
not only acquired rivals it perceived as competitive threats, but thereafter closed them down. For
instance, soon after acquiring FWP, PoolCorp closed a FWP distribution facility in Baton Rouge,
Louisiana. This left PoolCorp as the only remaining distributor in the area, thereby enabling it to
impose a five percent price increase.
PoolCorp Intimidated and Threatened Pool Product Manufacturers to
Further Obtain Monopoly Power
PoolCorp not only dwarfs its nearest competitors in size, it uses its dominance to
further enhance and solidify its monopoly power.
In the Spring of 2003, a former Dealer with almost 20 years of experience in the
Pool Products industry opened a distribution business in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. PoolCorp
responded to this new competition by notifying all major Pool Product manufacturers that it
would stop dealing with any manufacturer that sold any of its products to the new entrant. If
those manufacturers failed to comply with its warnings, PoolCorp threatened to terminate not
only its purchases and sales of their Pool Products in the local Baton Rouge area, but would stop
selling those manufacturers’ Pool Products throughout the entire country.
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As the manufacturers’ largest customer, PoolCorp’s threat was ominous. No
other distributor could replace the large volume of potential lost sales to PoolCorp, particularly
in those markets where PoolCorp remains the only distributor. In fact, according to the
complaint issued by the FTC, the manufacturer’s loss of sales to PoolCorp could be
“catastrophic” to the financial viability of even the largest manufacturers of Pool Products.
40. Without expending tens of millions of dollars to enter dozens of markets
simultaneously, it is virtually impossible for any new potential Pool Products distributor to offer
any economic incentive to manufacturers that could compete with the purchasing and
distribution power of PoolCorp.
As a result of Pool Corp’s threats and demands, many manufacturers of Pool
Products, including the three biggest manufacturers, Pentair, Hayward, and Zodiac, refused to
sell Pool Products to the new entrant and canceled all pre-existing orders with the company. In
essence, PoolCorp effectively flexed its distribution muscle and forced this company to exit the
market by locking in manufacturers of 70% of Pool Products.
42. Without direct access to Pool Products, the new entrant’s business ultimately
failed in 2005.
A new entrant simply cannot overcome PoolCorp’s efforts to crush a potential
competitor. PoolCorp’s exclusionary tactics in Louisiana were mirrored by its similar conduct in
preventing competition throughout the country. For instance, new entrants could not overcome
PoolCorp’s exclusionary tactics by purchasing Pool Products from other distributors, rather than
directly from manufacturers. As a general rule, distributors do not sell Pool Products to other
distributors. Even when possible, this alternative is not a viable long-term economic strategy
because it substantially increases a distributor’s costs and lessens its quality of service.
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For example, a new entrant distributor, who buys from another distributor forces
the new entrant to pay transportation costs from that distributor’s location, rather than receiving
free shipping under well-established manufacturer programs. Such distributor purchases are also
at a marked-up price and do not qualify for key manufacturer year-end rebates. These higher
costs would prevent the new entrant from being able to compete aggressively on price.
Additionally, without full control of its inventory, this attempted work-around hampers the new
entrant’s ability to provide timely and quality service to its Dealer customers.
Because of PoolCorp’s monopoly power and its nationwide pattern of
exclusionary conduct, Pool Product manufacturers were faced with a Hobson’s Choice: (1)
permanently lose PoolCorp, their largest customer, or (2) accede to PoolCorp’s threats and
demands and refuse to sell Pool Products to smaller, less powerful distributors.
PoolCorp’s Anticompetitive Conduct Has Recently Been the Subject of A
Federal Trade Commission Consent Decree
On November 21, 2011, the FTC issued a complaint (the “FTC Complaint”)
against PoolCorp for violation of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. §
45. See In the Matter of Pool Corporation, FTC File No. 101 0115.
The FTC Complaint states:
This action addresses PoolCorp’s exclusionary acts and practices in the market for
the distribution of residential and commercial swimming pool products. PoolCorp has
unlawfully maintained its monopoly power by threatening to refuse to deal with any
manufacturer that sells its pool products to a new distributor entering the market, thereby
foreclosing potential rivals from an input necessary to compete. PoolCorp’s conduct
deters and impedes entry, raises its rivals’ costs, and results in higher prices, reduced
output and less consumer choice.
The FTC Complaint alleges that “beginning in 2003 and continuing to today,
PoolCorp has implemented an exclusionary policy that effectively impeded entry by new
distributors by preventing them from being able to purchase pool products directly from
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manufacturers.” Specifically, when a new distributor attempted to enter the market, PoolCorp
threatened manufacturers that it would not deal with them if they also supplied the new entrant.
PoolCorp threatened to terminate the purchase and sale of the manufacturer’s pool products for
all 200+ PoolCorp distribution centers located throughout the United States. PoolCorp’s policy
did not exclude existing rivals from obtaining pool products from manufacturers.
ANTICOMPETITIVE EFFECTS OF POOLCORP’S CONDUCT
The effects of PoolCorp’s anticompetitive and exclusionary acts have been to
capture and/or maintain a large percentage of the relevant market, to substantially impair and
foreclose competition from rivals from a substantial share of the relevant market, and to
significantly raise barriers to entry for potential rivals.
The acts and practices of PoolCorp as alleged herein have had the purpose,
capacity, tendency, and effect of impairing the competitive effectiveness of rivals, raising its
rivals’ costs, and deterring and impeding market entry. PoolCorp’s unlawful conduct has
contributed significantly to the enhancement and maintenance of its monopoly power.
PoolCorp’s conduct adversely affected competition and consumers by:
increasing or maintaining premium prices for Pool Products at artificially high
reducing the output of Pool Products; (c) eliminating or significantly reducing
price competition for Pool Products; (d) deterring, delaying and impeding the ability of actual or
potential competitors to enter or to expand their sales in the Pool Product Distribution Market;
and (e) reducing consumer choice among competing Pool Product distributors.
There are no legitimate pro-competitive efficiencies that justify PoolCorp’s
conduct or outweigh its substantial anticompetitive effects.
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Absent PoolCorp’s anticompetitive conduct and the substantial foreclosure and
reduction of effective competition caused by such conduct, PoolCorp would have faced
competition and reduced the prices it charged to purchasers of Pool Products.
54. Moreover, had actual or potential Pool Product distributors not been prevented by
PoolCorp’s anticompetitive conduct from effectively competing in the market for such products,
those actual or potential competitors would have sold more Pool Products, gained a larger market
share, and achieved economies of scale and scope that could have further driven down prices for
Pool Products in the marketplace.
By unlawfully excluding and impairing competition, PoolCorp’s conduct has
caused Plaintiff and other Class members to pay more for Pool Products than they otherwise
would have paid absent PoolCorp’s illegal, exclusionary conduct.
As a result of PoolCorp’s unlawful, anticompetitive conduct, Plaintiff and
members of the Class were compelled to pay, and did pay, artificially inflated prices for the Pool
Products they purchased.
Had potential competitors been able to prepare to enter, enter and/or remain in the
Pool Product Distribution Market unimpeded by PoolCorp’s illegal conduct, Plaintiff and other
members of the Class would have been able to, inter alia, purchase Pool Products for lower
Because of PoolCorp’s anticompetitive practices, Plaintiff and other Class
members who purchased Pool Products paid artificially high and supra-competitive prices.
Plaintiff and members of the Class have, as a consequence, sustained losses and
damage to their business and property in the form of the payment of overcharges for Pool
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Products. The full amount of such damages will be calculated after discovery and upon proof at
CLASS ACTION ALLEGATIONS
Plaintiff brings this class action pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
23(a) and (b)(3), on its own behalf and as a representative of the following class of persons and
entities (the “Class”):
All persons or entities that purchased Pool Products directly from any Defendant
at any time between January 1, 2003 and the present (the “Class Period”).
Excluded from the Class are Defendants and their subsidiaries, parents, or
affiliates, whether or not named as a Defendant in this Complaint, and
The Class is individually so numerous that joinder of all members is
impracticable. While the exact number of members of the Class is unknown to Plaintiff at this
time, based on the nature of the trade and commerce involved, Plaintiff reasonably believes that
there are at least hundreds of members in the Class and that their identities can be learned from
records in PoolCorp’s possession, custody or control.
Class members are geographically dispersed throughout the United States.
Plaintiff’s claims are typical of the claims of the other members of the Class.
Plaintiff and the members of the Class have all sustained damage in that, during
the Class Period, they purchased Pool Products directly from PoolCorp at artificially maintained,
supra-competitive prices, established by PoolCorp’s actions in connection with the
anticompetitive behavior alleged herein. PoolCorp’s anticompetitive conduct, the effects of such
violations, and the relief sought are all issues or questions that are common to Plaintiff and the
other Class members.
Plaintiff will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the members of the
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Class and has retained counsel competent and experienced in class action and antitrust litigation.
Plaintiff’s interests are coincident with, and not antagonistic to, the interests of the other Class
Common questions of law and fact exist as to all members of the Class and
predominate over any questions affecting solely individual members of the Class.
The questions of law and fact common to the Class include, but are not limited to:
whether the Pool Product Distribution Market in the United States constitutes a
whether the Pool Product Distribution Market in the following regional markets
constitute relevant alternative markets: (a) Alabama; (b) California; (c) Florida; (d) Louisiana;
(e) Missouri; (f) New York; (g) Oklahoma; (h) Tennessee; and (i) Texas;
whether PoolCorp possesses monopoly power in the Pool Product Distribution
whether, through the conduct alleged herein, PoolCorp willfully acquired or
maintained or enhanced its monopoly power in the Pool Product Distribution Market;
whether, through the conduct alleged herein, PoolCorp attempted to monopolize
the Pool Product Distribution Market;
whether PoolCorp monopolized the relevant market by engaging in
unlawful exclusionary conduct to acquire or maintain or enhance its monopoly power in
the Pool Product Distribution Market;
whether PoolCorp entered into exclusionary agreements to unlawfully
acquire or maintain or enhance its monopoly power in the Pool Product Distribution
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whether, and to what extent, PoolCorp’s conduct caused Plaintiff and Class
members to pay supra-competitive prices for Pool Products and, thereby, suffer antitrust injuries;
whether Plaintiff and Class members are entitled to damages and, if so, the
appropriate measure of damages.
A class action is superior to other available methods for the fair and efficient
adjudication of this controversy because joinder of all members of the Class is impracticable.
The prosecution of separate actions by individual members of the Class would
impose heavy burdens upon the courts and the parties, and would create a risk of inconsistent or
varying adjudications of the questions of law and fact common to the Class. A class action
would achieve substantial economies of time, effort and expense, and would assure uniformity of
decision as to persons similarly situated without sacrificing procedural fairness. There will be no
material difficulty in the management of this action as a class action on behalf of the Class.
Plaintiff and the members of the Class did not discover, and could not discover
through the exercise of reasonable diligence, the existence of the unlawful, anticompetitive
conduct and exclusionary tactics alleged herein until November 2011 when the FTC
investigation and related consent decree was first made public.
Because PoolCorp’s agreements, understandings, and unlawful actions were not
made public until November 2011, before that time, Plaintiff and members of the Class were
unaware of PoolCorp’s unlawful conduct, and they did not know before then that they were
paying supra-competitive prices for Pool Products throughout the United States during the Class
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The affirmative acts of PoolCorp alleged herein, including the unlawful,
anticompetitive conduct, were wrongfully concealed and carried out in a manner that precluded
Pool Products are not exempt from antitrust regulation, and thus, before
November 2011, Plaintiff reasonably considered the Pool Product Distribution Market to be a
competitive industry. Accordingly, a reasonable person under the circumstances would not have
been put on notice to investigate the lawfulness or legitimacy of PoolCorp’s Pool Products prices
before November 2011.
Plaintiff and the members of the Class could not have discovered the alleged
monopolization and/or attempted monopolization at an earlier date by the exercise of reasonable
diligence because of the deceptive practices and techniques of secrecy employed by PoolCorp to
avoid detection of, and fraudulently conceal, its anticompetitive conduct and exclusionary
Because the alleged unlawful, anticompetitive conduct and exclusionary tactics
were affirmatively concealed by PoolCorp, Plaintiff and members of the Class had no knowledge
of any facts or information that would have caused a reasonably diligent person to investigate
whether PoolCorp was engaging in such unlawful, anticompetitive conduct and exclusionary
tactics until November 2011, when reports of the FTC’s investigation of such conduct were first
As a result of PoolCorp’s fraudulent concealment, the running of any statute of
limitations has been tolled with respect to any claims that Plaintiff and the members of the Class
have alleged in this Complaint.
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Monopolization in Violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2
(on behalf of Plaintiff and the Class)
FIRST CLAIM FOR RELIEF
Plaintiff incorporates by reference the preceding allegations.
PoolCorp acquired, willfully maintained and unlawfully exercised monopoly
power in the relevant market through the exclusionary, anticompetitive conduct set forth above,
including, but not limited to: (1) entering into exclusive dealing arrangements with
manufacturers of Pool Products; (2) adopting and publicly announcing a general policy of
refusing to deal with manufacturers that sold Pool Products to competing Pool Product
distributors; (3) threatening to refuse to buy Pool Products from manufacturers that sold Pool
Products to other distributors; and (4) engaging in an aggressive strategy of acquiring competitor
Pool Product distributors.
PoolCorp has effectively excluded competition from a significant portion of the
relevant market, unlawfully acquired and expanded its dominant market share in the relevant
market, and profited from its anticompetitive conduct by maintaining prices at artificially high
levels and by otherwise reaping the benefits of its illegally obtained and maintained monopoly
There is no legitimate business justification for PoolCorp’s anticompetitive
actions and the conduct through which it acquired and maintained its monopoly power in the
relevant market. The anticompetitive effects of PoolCorp conduct far outweigh any conceivable
pro-competitive benefit or justification. Even if such justification had existed, any possible pro-
competitive benefits could have been obtained by less restrictive alternatives.
As a direct and proximate result of PoolCorp’s anticompetitive conduct, Plaintiff
and members of the Class have been injured in their business or property by PoolCorp’s
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unlawful monopolization of the relevant market. Plaintiff and the other members of the Class
have been forced to pay artificially high, supra-competitive prices for Pool Products, prices
higher than they would have been absent PoolCorp’s unlawful monopolization of the relevant
Attempted Monopolization in Violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2
SECOND CLAIM FOR RELIEF
(on behalf of Plaintiff and the Class)
Plaintiff incorporates by reference the preceding allegations.
PoolCorp unlawfully attempted to acquire monopoly power in the relevant market
during the Class Period, with the intention of doing so, through the exclusionary, anticompetitive
conduct set forth above, including, but not limited to: (1) entering into exclusive dealing
arrangements with manufacturers of Pool Products; (2) adopting and publicly announcing a
general policy of refusing to deal with manufacturers that sold Pool Products to competing Pool
Product distributors; (3) threatening to refuse to buy Pool Products from manufacturers that sold
Pool Products to other distributors; and (4) engaging in an aggressive strategy of acquiring
competing Pool Product distributors.
To the extent that PoolCorp has not already acquired and maintained monopoly
power in the relevant market during the Class Period, the conduct described herein resulted in a
dangerous probability it would acquire and maintain such monopoly power.
PoolCorp has excluded actual and potential competition from the relevant market
and, by unlawfully limiting the market shares of rivals; it has reaped the financial benefits of its
attempt to acquire monopoly power.
There is no legitimate business justification for PoolCorp’s actions and the
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conduct through which it attempted to acquire monopoly power in the relevant market. The
anticompetitive effects of PoolCorp’s conduct far outweigh any conceivable pro-competitive
benefit or justification. Even if such justifications had existed, any possible pro-competitive
benefits could have been obtained by less restrictive alternatives.
As a direct and proximate result of PoolCorp’s anticompetitive conduct, Plaintiff
and members of the Class have been injured in their business or property by PoolCorp’s attempt
to monopolize the relevant market. Plaintiff and the other members of the Class have been
forced to pay artificially high, supra-competitive prices for Pool Products, prices higher than they
would have been absent PoolCorp’s attempt to monopolize the relevant market.
PRAYER FOR RELIEF
Accordingly, Plaintiff respectfully requests the following relief:
Certification of the Class defined in this Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 23(a) and (b)(3), and designating Plaintiff as the representative for the Class and
its counsel as counsel for the Class;
PoolCorp’s actions described herein be adjudged and decreed to be in violation of
Section 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2;
Plaintiff and the Class recover damages, as provided by law, that they are
determined to have sustained, and that judgment in favor of Plaintiff and the Class be entered
against Defendants, together with prejudgment interest at the maximum rate allowable by law;
Plaintiff and the Class recover the costs of this suit, including reasonable
attorneys’ fees, as provided by law; and
Plaintiff and the Class be granted such other, further and different relief as the
nature of the case may require or as may seem just and proper to this Court.
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Pursuant to Rule 38(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
, Plaintiff demands a trial
by jury trial of all claims asserted in this Complaint so triable.
Dated: New Orleans, Louisiana
December 19, 2011
/s/ Russ Herman
Russ Herman, Esq. (La. Bar No. 6819)
Stephen Herman, Esq. (La. Bar No. 23129)
Steven Lane, Esq. (La. Bar No. 7554)
Soren Gisleson, Esq. (La. Bar No. 26302)
HERMAN, HERMAN, KATZ &
820 O’Keefe Avenue
New Orleans, Louisiana 70113
Tel: (504) 581-4982
Ronald J. Aranoff, Esq.
Michael S. Bigin, Esq.
Dana Statsky Smith, Esq.
BERNSTEIN LIEBHARD LLP
10 East 40th Street, 22nd Floor
New York, NY 10016
Attorneys for Plaintiff and the Class