Sixth Circuit won’t pierce corporate veil in class action against real estate companies

November 24, 2014 By Kyla Asbury
Legal Newsline

A federal appeals court has ruled that circumstantial evidence is insufficient to support "piercing the corporate veil" in a class action lawsuit against real estate companies.

The three-judge panel stated that, after its own independent review of the record, it agrees with the district court's conclusion that the circumstantial evidence is insufficient, according to an opinion filed Nov. 13 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

The appeal was argued on March 18.

Chief Judge R. Guy Cole Jr. and circuit judges Alan E. Norris and Julia Smith Gibbons voted in the majority, with Norris authoring the opinion.

The panel states that it is mindful that the plaintiffs have come forward with a good deal of circumstantial evidence that supports its theory of collusion.

"What is missing, however, is the critical element mentioned in Matsushita and reiterated in Re/Max International: countering the conclusion reached by the district court that the conduct at issue was also consistent with permissible competition and therefore does not support an inference of antitrust conspiracy," the opinion states.

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