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BELL ATL. BUS. SYS. SERVS. v. HITACHI DATA SYS. CO

March 29, 1994

BELL ATLANTIC BUSINESS SYSTEMS SERVICES, Plaintiff,
v.
HITACHI DATA SYSTEMS CORPORATION, HITACHI AMERICA, LTD., and HITACHI LTD., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES WARE

 Defendants Hitachi America Ltd. ("Hitachi America") and Hitachi, Ltd. ("Hitachi") move to dismiss Plaintiff's, Bell Atlantic Business Systems Services ("Bell Atlantic"), First Amended Complaint ("Complaint") pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Defendant Hitachi Data Systems ("Hitachi Data") moves for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule Civil Procedure 12(c) on Count I of the Complaint, which alleges conspiracy under § 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act. 15 U.S.C. § 1.

 Courts generally may not consider matters outside the pleadings to decide a motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). If parties present matters outside the pleadings, and the court is willing to consider those matters, the court should convert the motion to a motion for summary judgment. Bonilla v. Oakland Scavenger Co., 697 F.2d 1297 (9th Cir. 1982). Similarly, the above standard applies to motions for judgment on the pleadings. Slevin v. Pedersen Assoc., Inc., 540 F. Supp. 437 (S.D.N.Y. 1982). The parties before the Court have gone beyond the "four comers" of the pleadings by submitting declarations and additional facts.

 Accordingly, the Court will consider Defendants' motions as motions for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, the Court hereby GRANTS Defendants' motions for summary judgment with respect to the Count I conspiracy charge. Additionally, the Court DENIES Defendants Hitachi's and Hitachi America's motions for summary judgment with respect to Plaintiff's remaining claims, including Plaintiff's alter ego allegations.

 BACKGROUND

 Bell Atlantic is an independent service organization ("ISO") that services high technology computer equipment manufactured by other companies. Bell Atlantic claims that Hitachi, Hitachi Data and Hitachi America ("Defendants") conspired and engaged in anticompetitive conduct to keep Bell Atlantic out of the market of servicing equipment manufactured and sold by Defendants.

 Bell Atlantic alleges that Hitachi, Hitachi America and Hitachi Data contracted with one another to unreasonably restrain trade and prevent competition with respect to servicing older Hitachi Product in the United States. Moreover, Defendants' conduct allegedly prevents companies such as Bell Atlantic from entering the market to service new Hitachi Product. Bell Atlantic claims that Defendants' agreements violate antitrust laws because they provide that certain products not be sold and certain information not be disclosed to third parties. Bell Atlantic alleges these restrictions prevent it from obtaining parts and materials necessary to service the Product.

 LEGAL STANDARD

 Summary judgment is appropriate where there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). To survive a motion for summary judgment, the non-moving party must show that the fact in contention is material and that it might affect the outcome of the suit under governing law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248-49, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986). Additionally, the non-moving party must demonstrate that the factual dispute is genuine, i.e., the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could not find for the moving party. Id.

 DISCUSSION

 I. Count I: Conspiracy To Restrain Trade in Violation of Sherman Act § 1

 A. Hitachi-parent and Hitachi America-wholly-owned subsidiary

 Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act provides that "every contract, combination . . . or conspiracy, in restraint of trade . . . is hereby declared to be illegal." 15 U.S.C. § 1. In Copperweld Corp. v. Independence Tube Corp., 467 U.S. 752, 768-69, 81 L. Ed. 2d 628, 104 S. Ct. 2731 (1984), the United States Supreme Court noted that § 1 targets concerted activity as opposed to unilateral activity because, "concerted activity is inherently fraught with anticompetitive risk. It deprives the marketplace of the independent center of decisionmaking that competition assumes and demands. In ...


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