Robins Kaplan Secures Two Eighth Circuit Wins for Firm's Clients

Robin Kaplan’s Appellate Advocacy and Guidance Group recently secured two wins for its clients in class action lawsuits before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Insulate SB, Inc. v. Advanced Finishing Systems, Inc.
2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 14233 (8th Cir. Minn. Aug. 13, 2015)

In the first case, the Eighth Circuit unanimously affirmed dismissal of a putative antitrust class action lawsuit brought against our client Graco, Inc. The lawsuit was brought by Insulate SB, Inc., a purchaser of spray foam equipment (FSE).  Insulate had alleged that Graco and a number of FSE distributors conspired to restrain trade in violation of federal and state antitrust and consumer protection laws.  Robins Kaplan successfully argued at the district and appeals court that Insulate failed to plausibly allege that Graco entered into any exclusive-dealing agreement or conspiracy with any FSE distributor.  The decision reaffirms and clarifies the Colgate doctrine, which allows a manufacturer to unilaterally implement resale and other policies toward its distributors and enforce those policies with the threat of termination, and allows distributors to acquiesce in those policies to avoid termination, all without creating an “agreement” subject to the antitrust laws

Gray v. FedEx Ground Package Systems, Inc.
2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 14693 (8th Cir. Mo. Aug. 21, 2015)

In the second case, Robins Kaplan’s appeal team, working in collaboration with co-counsel, O’Melveny & Myers, won reversal of a grant of summary judgment to the class plaintiffs for our client, FedEx Ground Packaging System, Inc. At issue in this employment classification class action was the question of whether FedEx Ground’s truck operators should be classified as independent contractors or employees under Missouri law when some of the operators drive and others hire drivers to work their routes.

The Graco appeal team was led by Partner Stephen P. Safranski, and included Partners Anne M. Lockner and Kellie Lerner. Partner and former Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court Eric J. Magnuson led the firm’s efforts for FedEx Ground alongside Associate Katherine S. Barrett Wiik.