Jury concludes that Caterpillar owes $100m to importer amid US lawsuit

New yellow Caterpillar excavators arranged in a line. Image: scharfsinn86 via AdobeStock - stock.adobe.com

A jury in the US has concluded that Caterpillar must pay $100 million to an importer, following a legal dispute between the two companies.

The Delaware federal jury found that importer International Construction Products (ICP) suffered contract-related damages and that Caterpillar was responsible, according to a report by Reuters.

ICP, based in Asheville, North Carolina, imported and sold new heavy construction equipment directly to consumers through the IronPlanet auction platform,

But in a lawsuit, ICP claimed that IronPlanet ended its contract with it in 2014 “as a direct result of pressure from Caterpillar and others”.

Caterpillar claimed in turn that ICP had “decided to stop doing business with IronPlanet” and denied that it had interfered in any business agreement between ICP and the online forum.

Caterpillar further argued that ICP had not suffered any damages.

In a lawsuit, ICP alleged that Caterpillar had violated US antitrust law, as well as making a claim for contract-related damages.

The jury did not find in favour of ICP’s antitrust claim. But it did find that ICP had proven that Caterpillar “tortiously interfered with ICP’s Hosted Store Agreement with IronPlanet, thereby causing IronPlanet to breach that agreement”.

The jury also found that ICP had suffered damages as a result of Caterpillar’s interference. It set the amount of ICP’s damages on its claim to $100 million.

Caterpillar said in a statement to Reuters that it “respects the jury’s verdict and will review our legal options”.

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