Category: Class Actions
Several minor league baseball players have filed an antitrust class action against Major League Baseball, alleging that MLB and its teams operate as a cartel to impose restrictive contracts on minor league players. The suit, Miranda v. Selig, alleges that the league’s anticompetitive conduct has artificially lowered wages for the approximately 6,000 minor league baseball players employed by the league, resulting in some minor leaguers earning as little as $3,000 per year.
District Court Allows Monopolization Claims to Move Forward on Allegations of Direct Evidence of Monopoly Power
Traditionally, plaintiffs asserting claims under Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act allege the existence of one or more product markets relevant to the defendants’ anticompetitive conduct and the defendants’ shares of those markets in order to state a plausible claim of defendants’ market power and/or monopoly power in a product market. But plaintiffs can also convince courts they can proceed to trial by alleging “direct evidence” of defendants’ market power.
Court Allows “Product Hopping” Claims to Proceed in Suboxone Litigation Based on Allegations of Removal of Prior Formulation and Disparagement of Generic Competition
We’ve previously discussed antitrust claims related to “product hopping”—allegations that pharmaceutical manufacturers have reformulated or otherwise altered their products to prevent automatic generic substitution. Earlier this week, the district court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in In re Suboxone Antitrust Litigation denied a motion to dismiss similar allegations regarding the drug Suboxone, which is used to treat opioid dependence.
On November 21, 2014, professors of antitrust law from 15 universities filed an amicus brief in support of the NCAA’s appeal in O’Bannon v. NCAA. Citing their interest in the “proper development of antitrust jurisprudence,” the professors argue that the district court misapplied the rule of reason analysis under the Sherman Act, and that allowing the trial court’s decision to stand could undermine amateurism in college sports and have a broader impact on antitrust law in general.
On November 14, 2014, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) filed a brief in the Ninth Circuit challenging a district court’s injunction on the enforcement of NCAA rules barring college athlete compensation as violating the federal antitrust laws. This blog previously covered O’Bannon v. NCAA.
The plaintiffs’ antitrust claims in the New Jersey municipal tax lien auction bid-rigging class action may proceed, the federal judge presiding over the litigation has ruled.
Developments in the Capacitor Cartel Litigation: Class Counsel Appointed and the Antitrust Division Intervenes
In July, we wrote about two putative class action lawsuits alleging that Panasonic, Samsung, and other electronics manufacturers had formed a cartel to boost prices of certain electronic capacitors. Since then, the cases have been consolidated, interim lead co-counsel have been appointed, the Antitrust Division has confirmed its own investigation, and the court has set a preliminary case schedule.
The Canada Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that civil antitrust plaintiffs may receive wire-tap evidence obtained in the criminal investigation into an alleged price-fixing scheme by several large gas companies. During the criminal investigation, the Competition Bureau of Canada intercepted and recorded more than 220,000 private communications which it used to bring antitrust proceedings against 54 persons.
Much has happened since our last post on the Nexium “pay for delay” class action lawsuit. Jury selection began in the District of Massachusetts on Monday, October 20, 2014. The day prior, one of the generic drug makers, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories (“DRL”), settled with the plaintiffs and agreed to cooperate in plaintiffs’ case against AstraZeneca, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, and Ranbaxy Inc.
In re Credit Default Swaps Antitrust Litigation: Big Banks Still Must Face Section 1 Sherman Act Claim
In a decision upholding most of the class action antitrust claims against 12 of the world’s largest financial institutions, Judge Cote of the Southern District of New York held that the plaintiffs had standing and alleged sufficient facts to satisfy their Section 1 claim under the Sherman Act. While Judge Cote denied plaintiffs’ conspiracy to monopolize claim under Section 2 of the Sherman Act, she did suggest two ways antitrust plaintiffs could bring a conspiracy to monopolize claim even where an oligopoly, not a monopoly, is present.
On Friday, August 8, Judge Claudia Wilken of the Northern District of California issued her much-anticipated findings of fact and conclusions of law in O’Bannon v. NCAA.
On August 1, 2014, Judge Cote preliminarily approved a $450 million settlement in the Apple e-books litigation. As many of you will recall, a June 2013 trial resulted in a finding that the various plaintiffs (including numerous states, the United States, and a class action) succeeded in proving that Apple had conspired with five book publishers to raise e-book prices.
A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit heard oral argument this week in In Re: Nexium (Esomeprazole) Antitrust Litigation in an appeal of a lower court’s decision certifying a class of drug consumers and third-party payors challenging AstraZeneca’s “pay-for-delay” patent suit settlements, as reported by the National Law Journal.
A pair of putative class actions has been filed in the past two weeks charging Panasonic, Samsung, and other electronics manufacturers with forming a cartel to boost prices in the sagging market for certain electronics capacitors. The actions follow press reports that officials in the United States and China are investigating the alleged cartel and that at least one manufacturer, who has not yet been identified, has applied for leniency with the Department of Justice.
Last Thursday, Judge Kevin McNulty in the District of New Jersey issued a 69-page opinion explaining his sua sponte dismissal of the putative class action complaint in Animal Science Products, Inc. v. China Minmetals Corp., which alleges a horizontal price-fixing scheme by a cartel of Chinese magnesite exporters.
We are pleased to announce the launch of Antitrust Update, Patterson Belknap’s new resource for the latest news and happenings in the antitrust and competition law arena.
On June 27, the trial in O’Bannon v. NCAA concluded following 15 days of testimony. Plaintiffs in this case, former college athletes, including former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon, originally filed in the Northern District of California in 2009. They have challenged the NCAA’s longstanding ban on paying licensing fees to college athletes for the use of their names and images in commercial outlets like broadcasts, merchandise, and video games, asserting that this policy constitutes an anti-competitive restraint of trade devoid of any pro-competitive benefits.
On June 4, 2014, the Second Circuit issued its decision in Lotes Co., Ltd. v. Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., an important ruling on the reach of the U.S. antitrust laws to foreign conduct.
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