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Private Antitrust Litigation

Steptoe’s antitrust lawyers understand that antitrust cases present daunting challenges to our clients.  Antitrust claims are often complex and can impose broad and probing discovery obligations, the threat of treble damages in the US and, in some cases, the burden of defending a class action and claims in multiple jurisdictions or related investigations by enforcement authorities.  Antitrust claims can also create leverage in business relations or as between business rivals.  Our team brings deep antitrust experience and first-rate, first-chair litigators and trial lawyers to meet these challenges head-on and holds a proven track record of successfully navigating our clients through the defense and strategic uses of antitrust claims.

We have litigated in federal and state courts across the US, courts of the European Union, and national courts in EU member states, as well as in arbitral tribunals.  Our antitrust litigators frequently help clients prevail before trial, whether by moving to dismiss prior to the start of discovery, by defeating class certification, or by obtaining summary judgment.  And when going to trial is the best course for our clients, our seasoned trial lawyers are ready.

Representative Matters

  • Defending Amadeus IT SA against civil damages class action alleging conspiracy among three global ticket distribution systems to impose substantially similar, costly terms to distribute airline tickets.  The case involves complex regulatory questions and developments in high-technology markets.
  • Defending Japan Airlines International Co., Ltd. (JAL) against ground-breaking civil damages claims in London relating to an alleged worldwide air cargo conspiracy.  This follows successful defenses of JAL in the US class actions In re Air Cargo Shipping Services Antitrust Litigation and In re Transpacific Passenger Air Transportation, which both settled favorably after motions to dismiss.
  • Defended Korean food manufacturer Yakult in civil damages class action alleging price-fixing of products made in Korea and sold in the US in In re Korean Ramen Antitrust Litigation.  Obtained the only complete dismissal of for any defendant in the action, which continued against other against defendants.
  • Represented Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in bringing antitrust claims against General Electric for abusive uses of patents relating to turbines for wind power generators.  The suit was part of a complicated series of lawsuits and counter-suits between the two industrial giants, ultimately resolved by settlement of the various intellectual property, antitrust, and other claims.
  • Defending Republic Services in a case filed in Louisiana alleging violation of the state Unfair Practices Act.
  • Defending National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), a federation of dairy cooperatives in the US, in several direct and indirect civil class actions under federal and state law.  The claims seek damages allegedly caused by a long-running federation program relating to supplies of raw milk linked to some $9.5 billion worth of higher payments to dairy farmers.  The case raises fundamental yet rarely addressed questions of the scope of statutory exemptions from antitrust laws for agricultural cooperatives.
  • Represented Cellular South, the largest privately held US wireless telephone company, in an antitrust suit to block the proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile.  This high-profile lawsuit followed complaints filed by the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, seven states, and Sprint Nextel.  After participating in DOJ’s investigation of the merger, Cellular South decided its concerns as a regional carrier were different and needed to be heard separately from those raised by the DOJ and Sprint Nextel.  The proposed merger was eventually abandoned before trial.
  • Represented a dairy cooperative alleged to be a co-conspirator in treble-damages class actions alleging price fixing and monopolization by other dairy cooperatives against dairy farmers in the southeastern US and in separate litigation in the northeastern US.
  • Representing a major railroad in treble-damages class actions alleging price fixing of fuel surcharges
  • Defense of a leading Asian airline in US treble-damages class actions associated with ongoing multi-nation.nal criminal cartel investigations.
  • Defending a major marketer of electric power in treble-damages class actions alleging rigging of power auctions.
  • Defending a major automobile insurer in multiple class actions directed at the use of non-original equipment repair parts and other claims handling practices.
  • Defending a major purchaser of ammonium nitrate in suits brought by coal companies for price-fixing.
  • Defending a major workers' compensation insurer in state court antitrust class actions alleging price-fixing and related offenses.
  • Defending a major specialty chemical company in treble-damage class actions alleging price-fixing of certain intermediate chemicals.
  • Defending a major life insurer in a federal action attacking industry preparation of studies of investment performance.
  • Defending a major property/casualty insurer in parens patriae actions and related private class actions alleging restrictions in environmental coverages.
  • Defending a major electric utility sued by a large purchaser for alleged monopolization and tying.
  • Defending a major industrial chemical manufacturer sued on indirect purchaser claims of price-fixing of chlorine and caustic soda.
  • Defending a leading foreign heavy equipment manufacturer sued for treble damages in one of only a handful of predatory pricing cases ever brought under the 1916 Antidumping Act.
  • Defending a major medical equipment manufacturer sued on monopolization and tying theories by independent service organizations in multiple jurisdictions.
  • Defending a major electric utility sued by municipal competitors in a monopolization case.
  • Defending one of the major market makers on the NASDAQ in the consolidated treble-damages actions on behalf of direct purchasers of NASDAQ securities.
  • •Defending a leading foreign airline in a major grand jury investigation of price-fixing in the air cargo industry.
    •Defending a major specialty chemical company in a grand jury investigation of price-fixing in certain industrial chemicals.
    •Defending several senior executives in major grand jury investigations of price-fixing in the lysine, fructose, and citric acid industries.
    •Defended the world's largest aquaculture farm co-operative in a grand jury investigation of price-fixing.
    •Defended two crude oil refining companies in grand jury investigations of price-fixing.
    •Defended a large, diversified forest products company in a grand jury investigation.
    •Defended a manufacturer of commercial neon signs in a grand jury investigation.
    •Defended a pharmaceutical manufacturer in a grand jury investigation of price-fixing.
    •Represented senior executives in the vitamin cartel case.

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