Your client is sued for failure to pay on a contract and says it shouldn’t have to pay because the prices were fixed by a cartel or that it was strong-armed into paying for a “bundle” of services or distribution channels even though it only wanted a subset of the bundle. Is that a defense? After all, aren’t contracts for unlawful ends unenforceable?
The answer, most often, is “no.” A recent decision by a New York Commercial Division judge provides a useful reminder of the fairly limited allowance of antitrust defenses to contract claims.
In Time Warner Cable Enterprises LLC v. Universal Communications Network, Inc., Justice Oing granted Time Warner Cable’s (“TWC”) motion to dismiss the defendant’s affirmative defenses under federal antitrust laws.