O.E.M. Glass Network and Brooklyn Wholesale Glass (OEMGN), operating collectively as Brooklyn Wholesale, have accused Mygrant Glass Company of trying to put them out of business by way of an “illegal” agreement. A New York District judge recently denied motions for summary judgment in the case, paving the way for the dispute to head to trial.
Brooklyn Wholesale alleges that a group of suppliers, including Mygrant, Interstate Glass of Amityville NY LLC, Metro Glass Distributing Inc. and Auto Temp Inc., were behind an industry boycott. According to case background included in the judge’s ruling, the issue began in 2013 when Mygrant acquired assets from Wholesale Glass Distributors, owned by Tom Barsch, Sr. When Tom Barsch, Jr., opened O.E.M Glass Network in the same location used for Wholesale Glass Distributors. According to the case background, Mike Mygrant displayed “clear animosity” toward the now-competing operation.
“According to plaintiffs, OEMGN posed a competitive threat in the industry because it provided faster deliveries, better service, and lower prices,” plaintiffs argue. “Concerned about this potential threat, Mygrant tried to size up OEMGN and identify its suppliers even before the company opened.”
Plaintiffs further allege that as early as 2014, Mygrant was reaching out to industry players, such as Interstate Glass, in an attempt to “cut off OEMGN’s supply of aftermarket auto glass.” Mygrant, on the other hand, tells the court that wholesalers refused to sell to OEMGN on their own accord “due to the company’s poor reputation, its haphazard management, and supply constraints inherent to the aftermarket auto glass market.”
Brooklyn Wholesale then filed suit in 2019.
In March 2023, the plaintiffs moved for summary judgment on the claim that the defendants violated the Sherman Act in engaging in a “per se illegal horizontal group boycott.”
“Defendants certainly engaged in parallel conduct by pressuring suppliers not to sell to OEMGN,” the judge writes. “Certain plus factors and references to concerted action strengthen the inference of conspiracy from this parallelism. Yet the possibility of a reasonable inference that defendants’ overtures to suppliers were taken for non-conspiratorial reasons pursuant to their unilateral self-interest remains.”
Because that possibility exists, and could be viewed as reasonable by a jury, the judge denied the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment. However, the plaintiffs do have anti-trust standing to pursue their claim on a per se theory of liability.
The defendants in the case also moved for summary judgment in March. They asked the court to dismiss the plaintiffs’ claims of damages from two potential Queens, New York and New Jersey warehouses, and rule that the plaintiffs failed to provide sufficient evidence of an illegal agreement. The judge denied summary judgment on the first request, though did note that OEMGN will need to prove loss causation and provide “just and reasonable damages estimates from these warehouses.”
The judge also declined to issue summary judgment on the second motion, saying that the plaintiffs “produced evidence showing parallel conduct among the defendants.”