Last week, the U. S. Supreme Court handed down an important decision on the jurisdictional reach of the Natural Gas Act (NGA). The Court concluded that the NGA does not pre-empt a long-running group of state-law antitrust suits aimed at alleged misconduct by natural gas pipelines.
In Oneok, Inc. et al. v. Learjet, Inc. et al., No. 13-271, the Court considered claims brought as class actions and consolidated in 2003 as the Western States Wholesale Natural Gas Antitrust Litigation in federal court in Nevada. The plaintiffs are manufacturers, hospitals, and other institutions that buy natural gas directly from interstate pipelines. These purchasers sued more than a dozen pipelines for reporting false information to natural gas price indexes, claiming injury because contract prices, based on the price indexes, were inflated by the allegedly false reports.