Request to Amend Complaint in Anheuser-Busch Antitrust Suit Denied

On Monday, Judge James D. Peterson of the Western District of Wisconsin entered an order denying plaintiff Mountain Crest SRL, LLC,’s motion to replead allegations in a three-year-old antitrust suit brought against defendants Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV and Molson Coors Brewing Company for supposed anticompetitive conduct that took place in Ontario, Canada. Mountain Crest, which owns and operates Minhas Brewery in Monroe, Wis. moved to alter or amend the judgment and for leave to amend its complaint after the court dismissed its complaint with prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.

Mountain Crest’s central allegation charged the defendants with federal antitrust violations for conspiring to harm it through “various marketing and distribution practices in beer stores in Ontario,” according to the order. In Mountain Crest’s motion that sought leave to address complaint defects through amendment, it argued not that the court had erred in dismissing the complaint, but rather that it should be granted an opportunity to amend under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15.

In considering whether the court should grant leave to amend its conspiracy allegations for a third time, the court noted that “even under Rule 15, a plaintiff isn’t entitled to (a) limitless number of opportunities to amend.” According to the ruling, the plaintiff also “ignore(d)” the portion of the dismissal order explaining that Mountain Crest had already exhausted the leniency it was granted to amend its deficient pleadings. The court held that because the plaintiff had already amended twice, and forewent a third opportunity it had to do so, the plaintiff was not “entitled to hit the reset button again.”

Mountain Crest is represented by Crueger Dickinson LLC and Charles Benoit; Molson Coors by Quarles & Brady LLP and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP; and Anheuser-Busch by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Godfrey & Kahn S.C.