The Antitrust Group at Ballard Spahr handles both civil and criminal antitrust cases, from multidistrict litigation and class actions to investigations by federal and state officials. We also offer strategic guidance on circumventing class actions, securing antitrust clearances, and developing a cogent competition strategy that will hold up in court, at the negotiation table, or before an antitrust agency.
Chambers USA has named our Antitrust Group a leading practice every year since 2010, saying "Their work is exceptional—they are very detail-oriented, proactive, and approachable and they provide fantastic quality of work." We are "highly recommended" by Global Competition Review, which ranks us as one of the top antitrust practices in the nation.
Our antitrust team has achieved success for clients through every possible means: through decisive advocacy in court and strategic thinking during appeals, via advantageous settlement, by prevailing on critical pretrial rulings, and by consistently gaining tactical advantages such as narrowing the scope of litigation and limiting potential damages. We have obtained important victories in precedent-setting cases, including complicated multidistrict litigation with billions of dollars on the line. And when a company’s market share has been threatened by anticompetitive conduct, we have brought suit and obtained significant victories at trial and through multimillion-dollar settlements.
Our clients include global corporations such as GlaxoSmithKline and DuPont. We also represent leaders in the pharmaceutical and life sciences, financial services, aerospace, infrastructure, transportation, telecommunications, and consumer products industries. In addition, we serve as antitrust counsel for a variety of industry groups, including an electric utility initiative focused on greening the supply chain.
Our antitrust attorneys have tried and won antitrust cases in courts throughout the country. They have defended charges of price-fixing, monopolization, vertical and horizontal restraints, tying arrangements, and other alleged trade restraints. We represent clients in litigation and during investigations by the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), U.S. attorneys, and state attorneys general.
We also help clients go on the offensive if they are being harmed by a competitor’s violations of antitrust law. We are counsel to Symphony Health Solutions, a provider of pharmaceutical data and analytics, in a monopolization complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against IMS Health, the world’s largest pharmaceutical data and analytics company, alleging that IMS Health has engaged in an unlawful scheme to eliminate its only formidable competitor left standing.
Our attorneys’ representations include:
- Scoring a landmark victory when the court granted summary judgment in favor of a global pharmaceutical company, dismissing claims that the company and a co-defendant filed sham parent cases to extend the period of exclusivity for its antidepressant medication. We also obtained dismissal on all but six of the 64 state claims originally asserted in the case.
- Succeeding through motions to dismiss, a motion for summary judgment, and in class certification proceedings in narrowing the claims of an indirect purchaser class against a global pharmaceutical company from a nationwide class to four states. We obtained a settlement resolving all of the claims of the indirect purchaser class for $35 million, and separately settled claims with a group of health plans for $11 million and with the direct purchaser class for $150 million.
- Obtaining dismissal of the indirect purchaser actions alleging price-fixing and monopolization in the sale of ductile iron pipe fittings and, after indirect purchasers filed amended complaints, securing the dismissal of the only Sherman Act claim and narrowing the state claims.
- Filing an amicus brief on behalf of the country’s most prominent antitrust economists in the FTC v. Actavis case before the U.S. Supreme Court. We successfully advocated against the adoption of a rule of per se illegality in reverse payment antitrust settlements.
- Representing a large public chemical company in defense of Sherman Act Section 1 class action litigation alleging a conspiracy to fix the price of titanium dioxide.
- Representing CSX Transportation, Inc., in defense of Sherman Act Section 1 multidistrict class action litigation alleging a conspiracy to fix fuel surcharge prices.
- Obtaining a modest, $5 million settlement in defense of Sherman Act Section 1 class action litigation alleging production limitation and related agreements among manufacturers of sulfuric acid.
- Successfully representing a large manufacturer that was injured by an international price-fixing conspiracy of its suppliers, collecting more damages than any other purchaser and, in fact, the entire class combined.
Antitrust Implications of Business Combinations and Transactions
We advise on the antitrust implications of planned business combinations, acquisitions, and collaborations. We prepare pre-merger notification filings under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act for offerors and targets and handle "second requests" and other investigations initiated by the DOJ and FTC.
Our work in this area includes securing DOJ approval for our client, an international supplier of aerospace components and systems, to acquire a pump and engine control systems unit of a multinational conglomerate. We also provided antitrust counsel to a contact lens and eyewear retailer in its sale to a private equity firm.
Counseling on Compliance and Policy Issues
Our preventive counseling guides clients in the areas of product pricing, discounts, distribution arrangements, trade association activities, and risks presented by transactions. We offer comprehensive advice on:
- Product pricing, including resale price maintenance, Robinson-Patman Act price discrimination, and promotional allowance provisions
- Product distribution, including tying arrangements and other distribution issues
- Trade association activities
In addition, we draft compliance policies and conduct training seminars for an array of businesses. This includes providing ongoing counsel to an alliance of leading investor-owned utilities formed to develop voluntary environmental standards related to the supply chain.
White Collar Investigations and Violations
We represent publicly held corporations, officers and directors, and prominent individuals from a variety of industries in federal and local grand jury investigations and defend them in any ensuing proceedings. Our recent successes include obtaining a more favorable sentencing outcome for a former bank executive convicted in a municipal bond bid-rigging case.
Our attorneys also have handled matters involving alleged market allocation fraud in the vitamin industry, and an alleged price-fixing conspiracy among a group of luxury car dealerships in the New York City metropolitan area. We represented a former senior vice president of a major multinational corporation into alleged price-fixing in the rubber products industry and a Norwegian-based tanker company in a price-fixing investigation into the parcel tanker shipping industry.
Our experience covers not only alleged offenses in the antitrust area but also the entire range of white collar criminal violations.
Leslie E. John