SPERRY v. CROMPTON CORPORATION

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Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York.

Paul SPERRY, etc., appellant, v. CROMPTON CORPORATION, et al., respondents, et al., defendants.

Decided: February 28, 2006

STEPHEN G. CRANE, J.P., FRED T. SANTUCCI, WILLIAM F. MASTRO, and MARK C. DILLON, JJ. Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman, LLP, New York, N.Y. (Laura Kam, J. Douglas Richards, Michael M. Buchman, Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins, LLP [Bonny E. Sweeney], Carey & Danis, LLP [Michael J. Flannery and James J. Rosemergy], Robbins Umeda & Fink, LLP [Brian J. Robbins], and Maricic & Goldstein, LLP [David M. Goldstein] of counsel), for appellant. O'Melveny & Myers, LLP, New York, N.Y. (Frank Goldman, Ian T. Simmons, and Benjamin G. Bradshaw of counsel), for respondents Crompton Corporation, Uniroyal Chemical Company, Inc., and Uniroyal Chemical Company Limited;  and Covington & Burling, New York, N.Y. (Marc V. Falkoff, William D. Iverson, Michael J. Fanelli, and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP [James D. Slear, D. Jarrett Arp, and Daniel G. Swanson] of counsel), for respondents Flexsys NV and Flexsys America, LP;  and Jones Day, New York, N.Y. (Christian Sproule, Albert J. Rota, William V. O'Reilly, Christian G. Vergonis, and J. Andrew Read of counsel), for respondent Bayer Corporation (one brief filed). Eliot Spitzer, Attorney-General, New York, N.Y. (Michelle Aronowitz, Jay L. Himes, Peter D. Bernstein, and Jean Lin of counsel), for State of New York, amicus curiae. Kirby McInerney & Squire, LLP, New York, N.Y. (Daniel Hume of counsel), for American Antitrust Institute, amicus curiae.

In a purported class action to recover damages, inter alia, for antitrust violations and unjust enrichment, the plaintiff appeals, as limited by his brief, from so much of an order of the Supreme Court, Nassau County (Parga, J.), dated November 20, 2003, as granted the motion of the defendants Crompton Corporation, Uniroyal Chemical Company, Inc., Uniroyal Chemical Company Limited, Flexsys NV, Flexsys America, LP, Bayer Corporation, and Rhein Chemie Corporation pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(7) to dismiss the antitrust and unjust enrichment claims.

ORDERED that the order is affirmed insofar as appealed from, with costs.

In this action on behalf of a putative class of members who purchased automobile tires in New York, the plaintiff seeks to recover damages against producers of rubber processing chemicals for conspiring to artificially fix, raise, stabilize, and maintain the price of rubber processing chemicals, thereby causing the plaintiff and others similarly situated to pay inflated prices for tires processed with the defendants' chemicals.

 The Supreme Court properly dismissed the plaintiff's General Business Law § 340 (the Donnelly Act) class action claim as barred by CPLR 901(b) (see Paltre v. General Motors Corporation, 26 A.D.3d 481, 810 N.Y.S.2d 496 [decided herewith] ).

 The Supreme Court likewise properly dismissed the plaintiff's claim to recover damages for unjust enrichment.   Because the plaintiff was not in privity with the defendants, the plaintiff cannot maintain an action against them to recover damages for unjust enrichment (see Outrigger Constr. Co. v. Bank Leumi Trust Co. of N.Y., 240 A.D.2d 382, 384, 658 N.Y.S.2d 394;  Kagan v. K-Tel Entertainment, 172 A.D.2d 375, 376, 568 N.Y.S.2d 756;  Sybelle Carpet & Linoleum of Southampton v. East End Collaborative, 167 A.D.2d 535, 536-537, 562 N.Y.S.2d 205;  Kapral's Tire Serv. v. Aztek Tread Corp., 124 A.D.2d 1011, 1013, 508 N.Y.S.2d 777).   We decline to follow the decision of the Appellate Division, First Department, in Cox v. Microsoft Corp., 8 A.D.3d 39, 40, 778 N.Y.S.2d 147, which dispenses with the requirement of privity for a claim sounding in unjust enrichment.

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