Appeals Court Upholds Major Antitrust Win for Wilkinson Stekloff Client Georgia Pacific

WASHINGTON,D.C. — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit unanimously upheld a major trial court win for Wilkinson Stekloff client Georgia Pacific, affirming the dismissal of a high stakes antitrust class action lawsuit involving over $10 billion in claimed damages.

Georgia Pacific hired Wilkinson Stekloff to handle all aspects of summary judgment briefing and trial after the trial court certified Plaintiffs’ proposed class. The Wilkinson Stekloff team, led by Beth Wilkinson, Alexandra Walsh, Brant Bishop, and Rakesh Kilaru, developed an evidentiary record focused on the absence of any evidence against Georgia Pacific, and filed independent briefs challenging Plaintiffs’ expert witnesses and seeking summary judgment.

In June 2017, the court issued a Daubert opinion that imposed key limits on the testimony Plaintiffs’ witnesses could offer at trial, adopting several of Wilkinson Stekloff’s arguments. On August 3, 2017, Wilkinson Stekloff won summary judgment for Georgia Pacific. The court’s decision came just one day after it had preliminarily approved a settlement in which Georgia Pacific’s co-defendants agreed to pay over $350 million. 

In upholding the district court’s summary judgment ruling, Chief Judge Diane Wood took note of Georgia Pacific’s successful strategy: “[M]ost of the defendants settled with the purchasers. But two companies—Georgia‐Pacific LLC and WestRock CP, LLC—decided to fight. They persuaded the district court that there was not enough evidence of a conspiracy to proceed to trial. We agree with that assessment and affirm the judgment dismissing the case.”

The case is Kleen Products LLC et al. v. International Paper Co. et al.