The objective of state and federal antitrust law is maintaining competition. Antitrust statutes are designed to balance the efficient allocation of resources and access to free markets with protecting consumers and competitors from restraint of trade, unfair competition and unfair trade practices. We handle the following types of antitrust and unfair competition claims:
Price Fixing. Price fixing is an agreement by two or more parties to artificially set or maintain the price of a good or service at a higher level than what the price would have been in a free market. A price fix may be accomplished in a number of ways, including selling a good or service at a common target or minimum price, limiting discounts, establishing uniform costs and markups, imposing mandatory surcharges, adhering to a price book or list price, using cooperative price advertising, standardizing credit terms offered to purchasers, using uniform trade-in allowances, reducing output or sales, and sharing markets or customers.
Price Discrimination. Price discrimination is the practice of offering identical or substantially similar goods to different buyers in the same market at different prices when the cost to produce the goods is the same. Small businesses threatened by chain store competition or wholesalers attempting to prevent large chain stores from buying directly from manufacturers at lower prices are classic situations where price discrimination may occur.
Predatory Pricing. Predatory pricing occurs when a dominant business prices goods below their cost in order to eliminate specific competitors in the short run, and reduce overall competition in the long run. Once the low pricing eliminates its small business competitors, a dominant business will raise its prices, thereby forcing consumers to pay higher prices for goods than they otherwise would have paid had there been competition in the marketplace.
Bid Rigging. Bid rigging is a particular form of price fixing where two or more competing companies coordinate their bids on procurement or project contracts. Bid rigging generally occurs in two forms: (1) where companies agree to submit common bids, thereby eliminating price competition, and (2) where companies agree on which of them will submit the lowest bid, and rotate the bids in such a way that each firm wins an agreed number or dollar value of contracts. Government agencies are most often the targets of bid rigging.
Monopolization. Monopolization occurs when a producer (1) secures the possession of monopoly power — that is, the power to fix prices and exclude competitors — within a particular market, and (2) acquires or maintains such power as distinguished from growth or development resulting from a superior product, business acumen, or historical accident. A monopoly is the practical suppression of effective business competition, which creates the power to control prices to the detriment of consumers. It occurs when one supplier or producer controls ― or obtains an advantage over ― a market within a given region.
Tying Arrangement. A tying arrangement occurs when a seller refuses to sell a product or service unless the buyer also buys a second product or service. The tying product or service is usually in high demand while the tied product or service is usually in lesser demand or of poorer quality. Tie-ins are often used by powerful businesses with substantial market share to coerce buyers when buyers do not need or want the “tied” product or service.
Exclusive Dealing. In its simplest form, an exclusive dealing arrangement is a contract between a manufacturer and a buyer forbidding the buyer from purchasing the contracted for good from any other seller, or requiring the buyer to take all of its needs of the contracted for good from that manufacturer—in other words, a requirements contract. An exclusive dealing arrangement violates the antitrust laws when it creates a substantial barrier to entering the marketplace by competing (and typically smaller) manufacturers.
We have represented consumers, automobile service companies, pharmacies, grocery retailers, and grocery wholesalers in antitrust cases involving LCD televisions, after-market vehicle parts, brand-name prescription drugs, bananas, bread, and other consumer goods and food products. We are experienced antitrust trial lawyers.
In re Packaged Seafood Antitrust Litigation; MDL No. 2670 (S.D. Cal) (currently represent grocery wholesaler and retailer direct action plaintiffs against Starkist, Bumble Bee, and Chicken of the Sea for raising and fixing the price of packaged seafood since 2003).
In re TFT-LCD (Flat Panel) Antitrust Litigation; MDL No. 1827 (N.D. Cal.) (represented the Nevada consumer sub-class representative in a price fixing case involving liquid crystal display flat panel televisions) (case settled for $1.1 billion).
In re Static Random Access Memory (SRAM) Antitrust Litigation; MDL No. 1819 (N.D. Cal.) (represented nine state consumer class representatives in a price fixing case involving static random access memory chips) (case settled for $41 million).
In re Aftermarket Filters Antitrust Litigation; MDL No. 1957 (N.D. Ill.) (represented an automobile service facility that was one of the lead direct purchaser class representatives in a price fixing case involving aftermarket automobile oil and air filters) (case settled for over $17 million).
In re Brand-Name Prescription Drug Antitrust Litigation; MDL No. 997 (N.D. Ill.) (co-lead counsel for 200 pharmacy and grocery companies with over 1100 retail locations that opted out of the class action in a price fixing case involving brand-name prescription drugs) (over $40 million recovered for clients).