NEW YORK A federal judge
has denied a six-month extension to a group of large steel
mills and distributors named in a lawsuit brought by MM Steel
LP alleging they conspired to drive MM Steel out of the
Fulshear, Texas-based steel
service center MM Steel filed the suit in April 2012 in U.S.
District Court in Texas, claiming that a number of large steel
mills and service centersincluding Nucor Corp., Reliance
Steel & Aluminum Co., Chapel Steel Corp., American Alloy
Steel Inc. and president Arthur J. Moore, JSW Steel USA Inc.
and SSAB Enterprises LLC d/b/a SSAB Americascolluded to
drive it out of the distribution business by refusing to supply
the company with steel (
amm.com, April 23, 2012).
Earlier this week, the
defendants requested a six-month extension on all the deadlines
in the antitrust suit, arguing that MM Steel had submitted too
large a volume of documents a little over a month before the
June 1 end of the evidentiary discovery period.
U.S. District Court Judge
Kenneth M. Hoyt granted the defendants a four-month extension
to the evidentiary discovery period but without changing any
other dates, including a December trial date. The ending period
for evidentiary discovery is now set for Sept. 30.
Although both sides are working
through hundreds of thousands of pages of documents, some
evidence has been made public. MM Steels original
complaint cites an e-mail Moore allegedly sent to employees,
which MM Steel said is evidence of a group boycott.
"I dont give up easily on
ones that I know are not worthy of being in this business, so I
will continue to go all extremes with ones I know to make the
trip a rough one (for plaintiff MM Steel)," Moore wrote in the
e-mail, according to the complaint. "We will sell at cost, if
necessary, to take business away from these bums. I plan to
have a conversation with the president of Reliance."
American Alloy Steel denied the
charges in its motion to dismiss the case last summer (
amm.com, July 26), saying that it had not broken
antitrust laws but had decided not to do business with MM
Steel, alleging that MM Steels ownersformer
American Alloy Steel employees Mike Hume and Matt
Schultzhad taken information from the company.
"MMs principals are
considered pariahs in the steel industry, and for good reason,"
American Alloy Steel said in the dismissal motion, which
accused the owners of taking American Alloy Steels
customer lists, bid numbers and trade secrets when they left
American Alloy in 1999. "(American Alloy president) Art Moore
refuses to do business with (them)."
"We intend to vigorously
prosecute the case," said Mo Taherzadeh, counsel for MM
Counsel for Nucor declined to
comment. Counsel for Reliance, American Alloy, SSAB and JSW
Steel could not be reached for comment.