Archives: Antitrust Litigation

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BakerHostetler Partners Publish Article Examining Reverse-Payment Suits Five Years After Actavis

Partners Carl Hittinger and Jeffry Duffy authored an article published by The Legal Intelligencer on July 27, 2018. The article, “Actavis and Reverse-Payments Suits in the Third Circuit After Five Years,” examines how purportedly anticompetitive patent-litigation settlement agreements between rival branded and generic pharmaceutical manufacturers—so-called “reverse payment” or “pay for delay” settlements—have generated numerous private lawsuits and remain one … Continue Reading

Did You Know the ‘Plausibility’ Standard Can Be Used for More Than Pleading Antitrust Claims?

Partners Robert Abrams, Gregory Commins, and Danyll Foix authored an article published in the Global Competition Review’s “The Antitrust Review of the Americas 2018.” Their article reviews how the “plausibility” pleading standard announced by the Supreme Court in recent years has changed not only how claims are alleged, but also how this standard may be … Continue Reading

DOJ Now Targeting HR Professionals for Criminal Antitrust Violations

Partner Carl Hittinger and Associate Tyson Herrold authored an article published by The Legal Intelligencer on March 30, 2018. The article, “DOJ Now Targeting HR Professionals for Criminal Antitrust Violations,” examines the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) ongoing enforcement of certain no-poach employee and wage-fixing cases. Specifically, the article lists DOJ complaints successfully filed against employers and analyzes the difference between naked … Continue Reading

The Department of Justice Weighs In on the Application of North Carolina Dental Examiners to the Florida State Bar

The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently took the uncommon step of submitting an amicus brief to weigh in on a motion to dismiss. TIKD Services, LLC v. The Florida Bar, No. 1:17-cv-24103 (S.D. Fla. filed Nov. 8, 2017), Dkt. 115. Specifically, the DOJ intervened to clarify whether the analysis set forth in the Supreme Court’s … Continue Reading

Should a Judge’s Personal Judicial Experience Affect Antitrust Pleadings?

When the U.S. Supreme Court scrapped Conley v. Gibson’s “no set of facts” federal pleading standard in Twombly (2007) and Iqbal (2009), courts initially struggled to apply the inherently ambiguous “plausibility” standard. In the immediate aftermath, some courts frankly misconstrued Twombly and Iqbal to invite a Daubert-style “gate keeper” appraisal of complaints in which judges could (and should) prune claims that, based on their own personal experience … Continue Reading

Has the Third Circuit Just Scrambled ‘Umbrella Damages’?

A recent decision by the Third Circuit permits plaintiffs to pursue antitrust damages for egg products supplied by non-conspiring parties. This decision could represent a crack in the “umbrella damages” rule that precludes plaintiffs from seeking damages for transactions with parties that are not part of an alleged antitrust conspiracy. Umbrella damages often come up … Continue Reading

Supreme Court to Decide First Antitrust Case in Two Years

On Oct. 16, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in United States v. American Express, the court’s first antitrust case of the 2017 term and the first antitrust case they have reviewed since 2015. The American Express case presents complex questions about the legality of anti-steering provisions in agreements between credit card companies and the … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Resurrects LIBOR Antitrust Case Against Bank Defendants, But Reprieve May Be Short-Lived

On May 23, 2016, the Second Circuit breathed new life into the class action case against 16 banks belonging to the British Bankers’ Association (the Banks), vacating the Southern District of New York’s dismissal of the case for lack of antitrust injury and remanding the case on the portion of antitrust standing that requires the … Continue Reading

Is That a Carrot or a Stick in Your Hand? The Third Circuit Examines the Line Between Competition and Coercion in De Facto Exclusive Dealing Agreements

We recently wrote about attempts to force exclusivity onto customers. But firms with large or dominant market shares often must walk a fine line between properly offering customers percentage-based discounts and improperly coercing customers into de facto exclusivity. For example, if a dominant firm offers a 25 percent price reduction to a customer that purchases … Continue Reading

Scalia’s Antitrust Legacy: Part 2, The Dissenting Opinions

In March, we wrote about Justice Antonin Scalia’s three majority opinions in substantive antitrust cases. Notably, Scalia also authored three dissenting opinions in substantive antitrust cases, in rapid-fire succession in 1991, ’92 and ’93. In the majority opinions, Scalia seized upon alternative, innocuous explanations for alleged anticompetitive conduct, even when an anticompetitive motive was equally … Continue Reading

Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The Second Circuit to Decide Appeal From Cartel Defendants Who Argued Compliance With Chinese Law Resulted in Sherman Act Violations

On January 28, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit heard arguments on whether the doctrines of act of state, foreign sovereign compulsion, and international comity required the reversal of a jury’s verdict against two Chinese companies that were found liable for violating Section 1 of the Sherman Act. The plaintiffs … Continue Reading

FTC’s Amicus Brief in Wellbutrin XL Appeal Highlights Significance for Interpretation of Actavis

The FTC has recently weighed in again on the evolving interpretation of the Supreme Court’s 2013 opinion in FTC v. Actavis, 133 S. Ct. 2223 (2013). The agency submitted an amicus brief to the Third Circuit in the appeal of the district court’s September 2015 grant of summary judgment in In re Wellbutrin XL Antitrust … Continue Reading

Justice Scalia’s Antitrust Legacy: Part 1, The Majority Opinions

Justice Antonin Scalia once observed that “the American people are neither sheep nor fools,” in McConnell v. Federal Election Commission, 540 U.S. 93 (2003). During his 30 years on the U.S. Supreme Court, he wrote 104 majority opinions but only three of those addressed substantive antitrust issues. This article addresses those three seminal antitrust opinions. Next … Continue Reading

Turing Pharmaceuticals Facing NY Antitrust Inquiry in Wake of 5,000 Percent Price Hike

Turing Pharmaceuticals is back in the news over its marketing and distribution of Daraprim, the anti-parasitic drug crucial for treating toxoplasmosis, which can be fatal to patients with compromised immune systems. As you have probably read by now, Turing recently acquired the rights to Daraprim and thereafter announced its intention to raise the cost of … Continue Reading

Ruling on Economic Favoritism Puts ‘NC Dental’ Back in Spotlight

In a recent opinion, a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that an economic regulation passed by a state agency solely to protect one group from competition would not violate the constitutional guarantees of due process or equal protection. The court noted that such action might still violate … Continue Reading

Patent Defeats Antitrust in Latest Test at Supreme Court

In Kimble v. Marvel Entertainment, 576 U.S. ____ (2015), the U.S. Supreme Court considered whether to overturn Brulotte v. Thys, 379 U.S. 29 (1964), its 1964 decision holding that it was per se unlawful for a patent owner to charge royalties for use of a patented invention after the licensed patent has expired. In a … Continue Reading

“Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More”* — Doctors, Vets, and Lawyers in the Antitrust Crosshairs

Supreme Court Decision in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission Prompts Legal Challenges to State Professional Boards Earlier this month a Texas federal district court judge granted a motion by Teladoc, Inc. (Teladoc) for a preliminary injunction enjoining the Texas Medical Board (TMB) “from taking any action to implement, enact, … Continue Reading

Collusion Course: The Limits of Hot Documents

Discovery in antitrust cases often involves a search for smoking-gun documents. Those documents can consist of emails proving that competitors conspired to raise prices, removing the difficulties faced by prosecutors or civil plaintiffs in proving actual injury to competition. Such precious nuggets lead inexorably to near-automatic liability for the defendants. But what if the nugget … Continue Reading

FTC Failure to Adopt Section 5 Guidelines Still Hot-Button Issue

Section 5 of the FTC Act gives the Federal Trade Commission the authority to take action against “unfair methods of competition.” The act was enacted over 100 years ago, and its legislative history indicates that it was left to the FTC to provide specific content to this broad and general language. However, there is still … Continue Reading

Product Hopping and Antitrust: Mylan Court Dismisses Claims on Summary Judgment, Citing Need to Avoid Chilling Pharmaceutical Innovation

A recent summary judgment opinion from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania breaks new ground in the developing antitrust law on “product hopping” claims. “Product hopping” refers to the practice of changing the form or dosage of a branded drug without changing its underlying composition. Though drug manufacturers often make such changes for legitimate business reasons, … Continue Reading

‘Actavis’ Still Raising More Questions Than It Answers

Nearly two years after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Federal Trade Commission v. Actavis, 133 S. Ct. 2223 (2013), “reverse payment” settlements in patent litigation between brand-name drug manufacturers and potential generic entrants remain a hot topic in the antitrust world. At the American Bar Association’s Antitrust Law Spring Meeting, held in Washington, D.C., … Continue Reading

Oregon Federal Court Weighs In on Disputed Umbrella Theory of Damages

An Oregon federal court recently relied on the so-called umbrella theory of damages to decide that the plaintiffs had an antitrust injury necessary to pursue an injunction. While this decision has garnered attention for enjoining the defendants from completing an acquisition, it also is noteworthy for its reliance on the disputed umbrella theory of damages. … Continue Reading

FTC’s Appellate Win Reflects Focus on Health Care Consolidation

In an important victory for the Federal Trade Commission in the appellate courts, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently affirmed last year’s decision from the District of Idaho in Saint Alphonsus Medical Center v. St. Luke’s Health System, No. 14-35173, in which the FTC successfully sued to undo a 2012 merger … Continue Reading

‘Product-Hopping’ Can Be Snagged Under the Antitrust Laws

The Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act, more commonly known as the Hatch-Waxman Act, together with the patent laws, attempt to advance the competing goals of preserving pharmaceutical companies’ incentives to make the staggering investments necessary to bring new, improved drugs to market, as well as fostering lower prices through competition from generic … Continue Reading
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