Antitrust Class Action Defense

Often triggered by government antitrust enforcement actions, strong defense against antitrust class actions requires a combination of regulatory, litigation, industry, and antitrust experience to fully develop a successful outcome.  Steptoe’s antitrust team brings deep antitrust experience and first-rate, first-chair litigators and trial lawyers together to meet challenges head-on.  Our experience, recognized by Global Competition Review, extends to the venues in which cases will be heard, and 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 lawyers have developed capabilities in two related areas: representing defendants in parens patriae actions brought by state attorneys general and removing state cases to federal courts.  Increasingly, the class action bar has brought cases in state rather than federal court, under state antitrust, unfair trade practice, and consumer protection theories. We have developed substantial experience in arranging removal, opposing certification of nationwide classes, defending against punitive damage claims, and creating new state law on exemptions and immunities. This experience also helps us handle cases subject to the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), which has forced some but not all class actions into federal court.

Steptoe has long represented clients as defendants in private treble-damage class actions brought under the federal and state antitrust laws.  We also have extensive experience on class certification issues, consolidation of multi-district cases, and other procedures governing complex litigation in the United States.

We also keep the business interests of our clients at the forefront, and often prevail before trial, whether by moving to dismiss prior to the start of discovery, by defeating class certification, or by obtaining summary judgment.  However, when going to trial is the best course for our clients, our seasoned trial lawyers are ready.

Representative Matters

  • Representing a major dairy cooperative alleged to be a co-conspirator in treble-damages class actions alleging price fixing and monopolization in the dairy industry of the southeastern 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-national 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

Publications