Fourteen states investigated “no-poachâ€ agreements (clauses, often contained in franchise agreements, which prevent workers from switching between employers of the same franchise in order to obtain a better job with a higher salary or improved working conditions). The states settled with four national fast food franchisors, Dunkin’, Arby’s, Five Guys, and Little Caesars, who agreed to cease using “no-poachâ€ agreements that restrict the rights of fast food workers to move from one franchise to another within the same restaurant chain. Under the terms of the settlements, the franchisors will stop including no-poach provisions in any of their franchise agreements and stop enforcing any franchise agreements already in place. The franchisors have also agreed to amend existing franchise agreements to remove no-poach provisions and to ask their franchisees to post notices in all locations to inform employees of the settlement. Finally, the franchisors will notify the attorneys general if one of their franchisees tries to restrict any employee from moving to another location under an existing no-poach provision. Since the investigation began, Wendy’s provided confirmation that it never used no-poach provisions in their contracts with franchisees. Investigations into Burger King, Popeyes, and Panera continue.
State alleged, as part of multidistrict litigation of antitrust claims against auto parts manufacturers, that TRW conspired with other parts manufacturers to rig bids for, fix and maintain the price of Occupant Safety Restraing Systems, installed in cars purchased by the state.State alleged violations of Sherman Act sec. 1 and the Cartwright Act (Cal Bus. & Prof. Code sec. 16720) and California’s Unfair Competition Law (Cal. Bus. & Prof. Cod sec. 17200). State sought damages and “deadweight loss” (gneeral damage to state) and disgorgement. Settlement was $122,500. TRW agreed to cooperate fully with the state in investigating other participants in the conspiracy.
Plaintiff states alleged that defendant, the producer of Lidoderm (pain medication), paid or incentivized generic drug makers to delay entry into market to protect its monopoly on Lidoderm. (“pay for delay”) The settlement agreement, which expires in twenty years, prohibits Teikoku from entering into agreements that restrict generic drug manufacturers from researching, manufacturing, marketing, or selling products for a period of time and requires Teikoku to cooperate in an ongoing investigation into similarly anticompetitive conduct by other drug manufacturers, among other things.
State of California ex rel. Becerra v. Watson Laboratories, Inc., No. 17-cv-00562 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 3, 2017)
Plaintiff state filed complaint alleging violations of the Sherman Act and California’s Cartwright Act. the complaint alleged an anticompetitive pay-for-delay agreement with respect to the Lidoderm pain relief patch. According to the complaint, Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. colluded with its competitors and fixed the price of the generic version of the drug.
Watson, which subsequently was acquired by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., allegedly agreed to settle a patent infringement suit with its competitor Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., which was the only producer of the name-brand pain relief patch. Pursuant to the agreement, Endo agreed to allow Watson to sell branded Lidoderm at no cost, if Watson agreed to hold off on its release of a generic version of the drug. Then, when Watson released its generic version, Endo did not release its own generic version for nearly eight months, the suit claims.
According to the complaint, “The threat of generic entry to Lidoderm posed significant financial risks for the company,â€ and “Endo knew that generic competition would decimate its Lidoderm sales and that any delay in generic competition would be highly profitable for Endo, but very costly for consumers.â€
California settled with Endo for a $760,000 payment (not characterized as attorneys’ fees or civil penalties) and an eight-year injunction preventing future pay-for-delay conduct.
Plaintiff state sought to enjoin proposed purchase by Valero of two petroleum storage and distribution terminals owned by Plains in Martinez and Richmond, California. The complaint has been filed under seal. The court denied the state’s request for a TRO, but held that the state had a likelihood of success on the merits. The parties abandoned the transaction.
States and the FTC sued to block the merger of the two largest daily fantasy sports sites, alleging that the combined firm would control more than 90 percent of the US market for paid daily fantasy sports contests. Plaintiff states and the FTC allege that the defendants compete with each other on price and quality.
The State of California, et al. v. Samsung SDI, Co., Ltd., et al., Case No. CGC-11-515784, Calif. Superior Court, San Fran. Cty. Nov. 8, 2011
California sued makers of CRTs alleging they were part of a price-fixing scheme that resulted in overcharges in the price of products that contained CRTs, such as televisions and computer monitors. The alleged price fixing scheme occurred between March 1, 1995 and November 25, 2007. According to the complaint, the conspiracy involved top-level meetings of key executive decision-makers in Asia and Europe to set prices and outputs of CRTs. It also involved worldwide meetings among lower-level executives to exchange confidential information. The settlements, which were filed in San Francisco Superior Court, require all five companies to pay a total of $4.95 million to settle claims of overcharges paid by California government entities, general damages suffered by the State’s economy, and civil penalties. The settlements require that the companies pay back the illegally obtained profits to those affected by their actions. In addition, the settlements include injunctive relief, which requires that each company engage in company-wide antitrust compliance training and reporting that involves products in addition to CRTs and extends to foreign companies and subsidiaries. Finally, the settlements include requirements, enforceable by the court via fines and imprisonment, to prevent future violations of antitrust law. There was a parallel class action by indirect purchasers nationwide that was brought in federal court by private parties. The state worked with the private plaintiffs and a settlement agreement was reached, under which California consumers recovered damages.
California filed a complaint and settled with T.Rad Co, a maker of automobile radiators and automatic transmission fluid warmers, alleging that the company rigged bids and fixed the prices of its parts from at least 2002 to 2010. California received $162,500 in damages and attorneys fees and Florida received $81,250.T.RAD agreed to cooperate with the states by providing documents and information related to the investigations into the price fixing conspiracy.
Plaintiff states alleged that the makers of Suboxone, a drug used to treat opioid addiction, engaged in a scheme to block generic competitors and raise prices. Specifically, they are conspiring to wtich Suboxone from a tablet version to a flim in order to prevent or delay generic entry. The states allege that the manufacturers engaged in “product hopping” in which a company makes slight changes to its product to extend patent protections and prvent generic alternatives. The complaint was filed under seal.
California sued Panasonic Corp. and its U.S. arm in Michigan federal court, alleging that the electronics company conspired to fix prices of switches and other car parts. The state alleged that from at least July 1998 to February 2010, the electronics company conspired with other companies to fix prices for various switches in vehicles, high-intensity-discharge lamp ballasts and steering angle censors, resulting in increased costs for state agencies purchasing cars and parts, along with increased costs for the stateï¿½s consumers. The complaint charged the companies with violations of both federal and California antitrust laws, unfair competition and unjust enrichment, and alleged that the deadweight losses to the economy of the state, including reduced output, higher prices and reduction in consumer welfare. The complaint was filed to effectuate a settlement between California and Florida and Panasonic that had been reached in 2015. California received $350,000 and Florida received $187,500 and Panasonic provided the states with all documents and information from the investigations by USDOJ, the EU and Japan and documents provided to class counsel in the multidistrict litigation.