Antitrust and Trade Regulation
Maynard Cooper has a long history of defending clients in multi-million (and multi-billion) dollar antitrust disputes. The antitrust group has successfully tried eight- and nine-figure Sherman and Clayton Act cases both to a jury and before the Federal Trade Commission. Most notably, in 2015 Maynard Cooper represented a leading manufacturer of ductile iron pipe, in an enforcement proceeding before the FTC. The eight-week administrative trial involved over 2,000 exhibits and 53 witnesses, culminating in a 464-page decision – possibly the longest FTC decision in history. Ultimately, Maynard Cooper convinced the FTC to rule against its own complaint, something the FTC had not done in twenty years.
Since 2012 the firm has served as exclusive outside counsel for the bellwether defendant in the In re Blue Cross Blue Shield Antitrust Litigation MDL, a series of consolidated complaints raising Sherman Act challenges to the Blue Cross system. The plaintiffs in this MDL allege classes comprising some 110 million persons – one in every three Americans – and seek hundreds of billions of dollars in damages. It is one of the largest antitrust cases ever filed.
The firm’s antitrust lawyers have also won antitrust cases on the pleadings; defeated certification of purported antitrust classes; obtained summary judgment by excluding opposing antitrust experts; won directed verdicts; and defended clients in grand jury proceedings.
Oftentimes, the best outcome is to avoid litigation altogether. In that vein, the antitrust group makes counseling a top priority, offering practical, cost-effective advice on proposed mergers, other transactions, and business practices. Its work in this arena spans an array of fields, including but not limited to health care, manufacturing, insurance, franchising, building materials, interstate pipelines, pharmaceuticals, food products, heavy machinery, automotive parts, medical equipment, and chemicals.
- Antitrust Litigation: Represented manufacturer of ductile iron products in FTC enforcement action alleging a price-fixing conspiracy and other antitrust violations under Sections One and Two of the Sherman Act and Section Five of the FTC Act. After an eight-week trial, the FTC found in favor of the manufacturer on all primary counts. It was the first time in twenty years the Commission had ruled against its own claims. The result garnered Maynard Cooper the 2015 prize for “Behavioral Matter of the Year – Americas” from Global Competition Review, the world’s leading competition and policy journal. The case also received substantial attention from the national press (including The Wall Street Journal).
- Maynard Cooper is currently defending a manufacturer from similar Sherman Act allegations in several follow-on class actions consolidated in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. The complaints allege damages in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Maynard Cooper also represents this manufacturer in a distinct MDL pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. Plaintiffs in that proceeding allege price-fixing and illegal monopolization related to the sale of cast iron soil pipe. They too seek hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.
- In re Blue Cross Blue Shield Antitrust Litigation: Exclusive counsel for bellwether defendant in MDL proceedings consolidating dozens of putative Sherman Act class actions. Complaints allege Section One and Section Two violations against the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and all 36 Blue Cross Blue Shield plans nationwide. Purported classes would comprise 110 million persons, or one in every three Americans. Plaintiffs seek hundreds of billions of dollars in damages and injunctive relief that would effectively end the Blue system. Case has received substantial attention from the national press (including The Wall Street Journal), the ABA, and antitrust periodicals.
- Defended manufacturer of fitness equipment in two-week jury trial brought by franchisee alleging vertical resale price maintenance. Case was pre-Leegin and tried under a per se standard. Plaintiffs sought eight-figures in damages. Defense verdict.
- Defended business conglomerate in multi-million dollar jury trial against price fixing and refusal to deal claims under Section One. Defense verdict on one claim and $5,000 award on the other.
- Defended manufacturer in multi-million dollar jury trial against tying and group boycott claims under Section One. Directed verdict for the defense.
- Defended propane gas distributor in multi-million dollar predatory pricing case under Section One. Court excluded plaintiffs’ market expert on the morning of trial and entered summary judgment for the defense.
- Defended health insurer in 100 million dollar putative class action filed by network provider alleging refusal to deal and monopolization. Engineered dismissal of monopolization claim and, after extensive motion practice, settled refusal to deal claim on non-class basis.
- Defense counsel in 200 million dollar putative class action alleging antitrust violations under Alabama state law. Successfully argued that Alabama state antitrust statutes applied to intrastate commerce only. Case dismissed on the pleadings with prejudice.