Judge expected to rule soon on union's lawsuit against Maine mill sale to Canadian firm

Industrials Associated Press

A federal judge will rule next week on a union's antitrust lawsuit that seeks to block the sale of a Maine paper mill to a Canadian metal recycler.

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Parties appeared in court Tuesday to respond to the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers' suit. The suit seeks to block the sale of Verso Paper Corp.'s mill in Bucksport, which shut down production this month, to AIM Development.

Judge John A. Woodcock could rule by Monday, WABI-TV reported. The union wants to clear the way for a buyer that would operate the business as a paper mill. Its lawsuit says Verso engaged in a conspiracy to monopolize the market for coated printing paper.

Verso also operates a mill in Jay and recently acquired its rival NewPage in a $1.4 million deal. The federal Department of Justice required Verso to sell off its Rumford mill because of antitrust concerns. Verso announced a deal to sell the 700-employee Rumford mill to Canada-based Catalyst Paper Corp. in October.