Strategic Defense and Prosecution of Antitrust Disputes
Kasowitz regularly represents clients, as plaintiffs or defendants, in cases involving price-fixing, bid-rigging, tying, exclusive dealing, conspiracies, attempts to monopolize, and monopolization. The firm’s antitrust experience spans a wide range of industries, including automotive, shipping, chemicals, agricultural and processed foods, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, and publishing. Our antitrust lawyers have received extensive recognition by Chambers USA, Legal 500, Benchmark Litigation and Lawdragon, among others, and have chaired American Bar Association antitrust committees and other antitrust industry groups.
Ford Motor Company in obtaining affirmative recoveries in connection with price-fixing, bid-rigging and customer allocation cartels involving more than 90 automotive parts suppliers, and impacted purchases in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and South America, described by the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice as its largest criminal antitrust investigation, resulting in nearly $3 billion in criminal fines.
Pilgrim’s Pride in defense of a putative antitrust class action in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Oklahoma, in which plaintiffs allege that a group of chicken companies engaged in anticompetitive conduct that enabled them to pay growers of broiler chickens less than the competitive level.
Pilgrim’s Pride, one of the nation’s largest chicken producers, in resolving criminal claims relating to the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division’s high-profile investigation into alleged price fixing in the poultry industry.
Teva Pharmaceuticals, the world’s largest generic drug manufacturer (headquartered in Israel), and its US subsidiary Actavis, in defense of antitrust actions commenced by the State Attorneys General for 48 states, 28 civil antitrust class actions and three direct actions.
MLW Media in prosecuting antitrust claims against World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). MLW’s lawsuit alleges that WWE has undermined competition and monopolized the professional wrestling market in the United States, and interfered with MLW’s contracts and business prospects. As alleged, WWE’s unfair and anticompetitive business practices include poaching talent, misappropriating confidential information, interfering with competitors’ contracts and cutting off competitors’ access to their viewing audiences.
Comcast in the defense of a class action involving effectively three sub-classes – each consisting of approximately two million cable subscribers – alleging that Comcast violated antitrust monopolization laws through cable system “clustering” in the Philadelphia, Chicago and Boston areas. The firm represented Comcast in a four-day class certification hearing for the Philadelphia area, resulting in a decision by the federal district court significantly limiting the issues for trial. The court further limited issues on summary judgment. In March 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Comcast in a landmark 5-4 decision that overturned the certification of the Philadelphia class.
Source Interlink Distribution and Source Interlink Companies in an antitrust action alleging that leading magazine publishers and distributors conspired to force Source out of the wholesale single-issue magazine market. One commentator noted: “Standing in the way of the publishers’ alleged conspiracy, like Superman in front of a speeding locomotive, has been Kasowitz Benson.” The case settled on favorable terms.
Industrial manufacturers, including Toyota Tsusho Corporation, Tomen America, Transammonia, Trammochem, Transgrain Shipping, Grupo Celanese, Acetex Corporation, and Millennium Petrochemicals, in several international arbitrations arising from a parcel tanker price-fixing conspiracy. Kasowitz’s clients alleged violation of the Sherman Act, as well as unfair competition claims. These cases were resolved pursuant to confidential settlements.
NuCal Foods, one of the nation’s largest egg producers, in defending a multi-district litigation proceeding in federal district court in Philadelphia, in which NuCal and most of the country’s other large shell egg and processed egg products producers are accused of price-fixing violations of the Sherman Act. The firm also represents NuCal with respect to an investigation being conducted by the Florida Attorney General’s office regarding the same conduct.
Anderson News in an antitrust suit against leading magazine publishers and distributors, alleging that these companies conspired to boycott Anderson, a magazine wholesaler, and forced it out of business.
FIG, an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group, in an action in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York brought by Leslie Dick Worldwide Ltd. and Leslie Dick, which sought more than $1 billion in damages for alleged RICO and antitrust conspiracies, concerning the 2003 sale of the General Motors Building in New York City and the Conseco bankruptcy. The firm successfully obtained the dismissal of the claims against Fortress.
Hoechst GmbH and other major chemical companies in defense of an action filed by 30 major textile manufacturers in multi-district litigation alleging a price-fixing conspiracy in the North American polyester staple fiber market. This case was resolved pursuant to a confidential settlement.
The New York Jets in an antitrust action against Cablevision, the owner of Madison Square Garden, alleging that Cablevision attempted to sabotage the Jets' attempt to build a sports and convention center on the west side of Manhattan, in order to control venues for major sports and entertainment events. This case was resolved after a deal was reached for an alternative site.
Liggett Group in defense of an action by a putative statewide class of retail customers alleging that Liggett conspired with other cigarette manufacturers to unlawfully fix cigarette prices in New Mexico, seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. The trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Liggett was also affirmed by the appellate court.
General Reinsurance in an antitrust litigation brought by EchoStar alleging improper denial of insurance coverage and improper refusal to issue new coverage.
Four senior executives of a leading Asian electronics company in a criminal price-fixing investigation brought by the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division, successfully negotiating immunity for the executives.
International Oil Trading Company (IOTC) in a matter involving federal and state antitrust and RICO allegations brought by a disappointed bidder for a valuable Pentagon contract to supply fuel to United States troops in Iraq. Though the Pentagon determined that IOTC was the only qualified bidder, the plaintiff, a multi-national foreign corporation, averred that IOTC and its principals impaired its ability to qualify to compete for the Department of Defense contract by allegedly influencing foreign officials. The case ultimately settled.
Washington Mutual Bank (WaMu) in defense of price-fixing and unfair business practices claims concerning credit card late and over limit fees. Kasowitz successfully obtained the dismissal of all claims against WaMu.
Mylan Pharmaceuticals in litigation and settlement of antitrust claims relating to “authorized generics,” and alleged manipulation of the Hatch-Waxman process.
Executives of Toshiba Corporation in defense of price-fixing investigations by the Department of Justice.
George Weston Bakeries (n/k/a Bimbo Bakeries USA), the baker of Thomas’, Boboli, Entenmann’s, Freihofer, Stroehmann, Arnold, and other fresh baked products, in defense of Sherman and Robinson-Patman Act claims filed by distributors of those products. Kasowitz successfully obtained the dismissal of all of the distributors’ antitrust claims.