NEW YORK Skyline Steel LLC is suing PilePro LLC, PilePro
Sales Corp., PilePro Steel LP and Plymouth Tube Co. for alleged
anti-competitive and exclusionary conduct in the
modular steel connector market.
Skyline Steel, a subsidiary of Charlotte, N.C.-based Nucor
Corp., alleges in the suit filed in U.S. District Court in New
Jersey that PilePro and Plymouth Tube conspired to keep Skyline
out of the domestic connector market by entering into an
unreasonably long exclusive manufacturing agreement
shortly after Skyline entered the market with its own
connectors, which were extruded by Plymouth Tube.
The agreement prevented Plymouth Tube, the only domestic
extruder of connectors, from extruding all connectors or
any other type of product for Skyline until December
2021, according to court documents.
Subsequent to the Plymouth Tube deal, Skyline Steel said it was
coerced into signing an anti-competitive purchase
agreement with PilePro to settle baseless
patent-infringement litigation brought by PilePro against
Skylines connectors, which hold together vertical wall
components of steel sheet piling or long steel pipes.
Skyline claimed it settled the litigation, which forced it to
stop the manufacture of its own connectors, in part because
PilePro agreed to supply it with all connectors at
prices specified in the agreement going forward.
However, Austin, Texas-based PilePro subsequently increased
prices for domestic connectors significantly above terms set in
the agreement and delayed or refused to ship connectors to
Skyline, according to the lawsuit.
This web of anti-competitive agreements is expressly
designed to foreclose competition so that customers are forced
to purchase certain types of sheet and pipe piling that use
connectors made exclusively by PilePro, irrespective of whether
such piling is a more efficient, cost-effective or desirable
solution for customers, the lawsuit alleges.
Skylines connectors can be up to four times more
efficient than the products sold by PilePro, according to the
The lawsuit cites a document allegedly circulated by PilePro
entitled 7 Steel Samurai: A Proposal for a Joint
Venture, which set out a plan by which 100 percent
of the global steel wall piling supply would be provided by
either a local PilePro franchisee or PilePros joint
venture (Steel Wall Systems Global).
In addition to its other alleged anti-competitive behavior,
PilePro also hired away a former Skyline Steel executive tasked
with the companys entry into the connector market,
gaining business-sensitive market information in the process,
with the company losing at least one job as a result, according
to the filing.
Nucor, PilePro and Warrenville, Ill.-based Plymouth Tube did
not return requests for comment.