November 28, 2005

Court seeks gov’t view on Weyerhaeuser

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday
asked for the U.S. government's views about Weyerhaeuser's
appeal of a $78.7 million judgment for monopolizing and trying
to monopolize the forest products market in the Pacific

At issue is a U.S. appeals court ruling that upheld the
judgment against Weyerhaeuser for violating federal antitrust
law and engaging in predatory conduct.

The court in a brief order asked Solicitor General Paul
Clement to file a brief expressing the U.S. government's views
about the case. It could take months before the brief is filed
and the court decides whether to hear the appeal.

Ross-Simmons Hardwood Lumber, a company that went out of
business in 2001, brought the lawsuit and blamed its failure on

The lawsuit said Weyerhaeuser had engaged in predatory
practices, and monopolized and attempted to monopolize the
Pacific Northwest market through its purchases of alder
sawlogs, the area's predominant hardwood species.

Both Weyerhaeuser and Ross-Simmons operated sawmills that
buy logs and process them into finished lumber. The lawsuit
said Weyerhaeuser overpaid for sawlogs, artificially increasing
their prices, to drive Ross-Simmons and other competitors out
of business.

Ross-Simmons prevailed in a jury trial and before the
appeals court.

Weyerhaeuser appealed to the Supreme Court.

The company challenged the appeals court's holding that a
business accused of predatory buying may be held liable if the
jury believed the defendant purchased more inputs than it
needed or paid a higher price than was necessary, preventing
rivals from obtaining those items at a fair price.