September 15, 2015—A Canadian judge has certified a class action alleging that Air Canada and other international airlines fixed the price of fuel surcharges for shipping cargo. Dr. Russell Lamb, Senior Vice President for Litigation at Nathan Associates and internationally recognized authority on antitrust economics, had filed two expert reports on class certification and damages issues on behalf of the plaintiffs.
The August 26 ruling by Justice Lynne Leitch of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice agreed that Dr. Lamb had supplied a “credible or plausible” methodology capable of determining class-wide damages “grounded in the facts of the case.”
The methodology includes a way to determine that alleged overcharges were passed along to customers, and Dr. Lamb established the availability of price data for applying the methodology.
The alleged facts of the case and actual damages will have to be proved at trial. The complaint alleges that the price fixing occurred from January 2000 to September 2006. The class excludes customers of “integrated carriers” such as FedEx, UPS, and TNT. Some of the multiple defendants have settled, according to the National Post of Canada.
Justice Leitch ruled on a significant jurisdictional matter in the case. Foreign companies that are not present in Ontario will not automatically be plaintiffs. Instead, these “absent foreign claimants” will have to formally agree—opt in—to join the case.
The case is Airia Brands v. Air Canada, 2015 ONSC 5352