SCI, the nation’s largest funeral home chain, sought to acquire Stewart Enterprises, another large funeral home chain. Seven states and the FTC entered into consent agreements with SCI specifying which funeral homes would be divested in 59 separate markets. In a separate consent agreement, SCI agreed to provide the state plaintiffs with the same notices, requirements for approval and compliance review as to divestitures and future acquisitions included in the FTC’s consent decree and to pay the state’s costs and attorneys’ fees..
US DOJ and plaintiff states filed a complaint in federal court challenging the proposed merger between American Airlines and U.S. Airways. The complaint alleged the proposed merger would result in decreased competition, higher airfares and fees, reduced service and downgraded amenities. The dollar impact nationwide could exceed $100 million a year. The merger would make a combined U.S. Airways/American Airlines the largest worldwide carrier and reduce the number of the larger “legacy” airlines from four to three – U.S. Airways/American, United/Continental and Delta/Northwest – and the number of major airlines from five to four. If the merger were approved, the three remaining legacy airlines combined with Southwest Airlines would account for more than 80 percent of domestic travel. American Airlines is U.S. Airways’ chief competitor in the marketplace, meaning that the merger will likely only serve to increase fares and fees. Texas settled its case, entering into an agreement under which the merged airlines would maintain their operations at Texas airports, maintain DFW as a hub, and maintain its corporate headquarters in the Dallas area. DOJ and the remaining states reached settlements with the merging parties. The settlement requires US Airways and American to divest or transfer to low cost carrier purchasers approved by the department: 1) All 104 air carrier slots (i.e. slots not reserved for use only by smaller, commuter planes) at Reagan National and rights and interest in other facilities at the airport necessary to support the use of the slots; 2) Thirty-four slots at LaGuardia and rights and interest in other facilities at the airport necessary to support the use of the slots; and 3) Rights and interests to two airport gates and associated ground facilities at each of Boston Logan, Chicago O’Hare, Dallas Love Field, Los Angeles International and Miami International. The settlement reached by the states requires maintenance of existing hubs in those states, consistent with their historical operations, for three years, and continued daily service for five years to each airport in the affected states that American and US Airways serviced at the time of filing.
After Hitachi-LG Data Storage, Inc. was charged with a 15-count felony charge by the United States Department of Justice, pleaded guilty to bid-rigging and price-fixing of Optical Disc Drives (ODDs) and paid a $21.1 million criminal fine, Florida filed suit. The suit alleged that Hitachi-LG Data Storage, Inc. and its subsidiary, Hitachi-LG Data Storage Korea, Inc., participated in meetings, discussions, and communications to share competitively sensitive information, in order to rig bids for ODDs sold to Dell Inc., Hewlett-Packard Company, and Microsoft Corporation. The state is seeking equitable relief, damages, and civil penalties for Florida consumers, businesses, and governmental entities.
USDOJ and five states challenged the joint venture between Comcast and NBC Universal, alleging that it would harm competition in cable programming, with Comcast controlling NBC and NBCU programming. The parties reached a settlement, and the FCC also reached a separate settlement with Comcast and NBC. The settlements impose a number of restrictions and limitations on the merger to ensure that competing distributors have fair access to NBC and NBCU content. The settlements also address several areas of the joint venture’s operations. The DOJ and states’ settlement particularly focuses on requiring Comcast/NBC to make content available to online video distributors; requires NBC to relinquish all management rights in connection with Hulu.com, a popular video website; and prohibits Comcast from retaliating against content providers who sell to online distributors, entering into exclusive agreements that might limit access to programs, and slowing broadband signals when broadband customers view non-Comcast content.
Florida v. Coca Cola Bottling Company of Miami, Inc., No. CL90-723-AA (15th Jud.Cir.Palm Beach County, 1991)
Florida sought damages and injunctive relief, alleging that The Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Ft. Lauderdale/Palm Beach, Inc. (Pepsi) conspired with the Coca Cola Bottling Company of Miami, Inc. (Coke) to establish a floor for wholesale prices of some soft drink products sold in Broward, Palm Beach, and Martin Counties, Florida.
Following guilty pleas to criminal price-fixing by several LCD manufacturers, and a conviction after trial of another, plaintiff states filed suit against LCD manufacturers, alleging that top executives of several companies held numerous secret meetings from at least 1999 through at least 2006 for the purpose of exchanging information and setting prices on LCD panels. According to the complaint, companies such as Dell, Apple, and Hewlett Packard were among those targeted by the manufacturers’ price-fixing scheme. According to the lawsuit, the illegal overcharges were ultimately borne by state consumers and state government purchasers. The suit also alleges fraudulent concealment of the conspiracy. The lawsuit seeks monetary damages, civil penalties and injunctive relief under the Sherman Act and state antitrust statutes. The first settlement covered Chimei Innolux, Chimei Optoelectronics, Hannstar, Hitachi, Samsung, and Sharp and their subsidiaries. The second settlement, for $543.5 million, was with AU Optronics, Toshiba and LG Display and subsidiaries.
Plaintiff state filed suit against the world’s largest manufacturers of thin-film transistor
liquid crystal display panels, or “TFT-LCD panels,” alleging the companies conspired
to fix the prices of their products. The civil lawsuit, filed in federal district court in California, alleges that the defendants conspired to prevent competition and to increase prices for TFT-LCD panels, the most common form of LCD panels used in popular electronic devices such as desktop monitors, laptop screens, and flat panel televisions.
The state alleges that the defendants organized the conspiracy at the highest level of their organizations in various secret meetings and telephone conversations over a period of years. The United States Department of Justice has indicted a number of the defendants and their employees in the same federal court, resulting in more than $890 million in criminal fines. The lawsuit also alleges fraudulent concealment of the conspiracy. claims the companies violated the Florida Antitrust Act, the Sherman Act, and the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and seeks injunctive relief, treble damages, restitution and/or disgorgement, civil penalties and costs.
Attorney General of Florida v. ASAP Meds No. 04-16032 (09) (Fl. Cir. Ct., Broward Cty. Oct. 27 2004)
State brought price-gouging action against distributor of flu vaccine during a flu vaccine shortage. The distributor’s prices were allegedly 1000 percent of the actual price of the vaccine. Defendant agreed to consent order enjoining it from sales of the vaccine and turned its supply of vaccine over to the Florida Department of Health. Several months later, the state and the defendant entered into a settlement under which the defendant agreed to refrain from intentionally making false statements to consumers relating to how much of a given drug is in stock, how quickly it is being sold and how long the current supply will last. In addition, the company paid $150,000 for a training and educational program for at-risk youth and $71,000 to be used to assist pharmacies that were affected by Meds-Stat’s activities.
Plaintiff states settled with drug maker Organon USA, Inc. and its parent company, Akzo Nobel N.V., resolving antitrust claims involving the antidepressant drug Remeron between June 2001 and October 2004. The states’ complaint alleged that Organon unlawfully extended its monopoly by improperly listing a new “combination therapy” patent with the U.S. Federal Drug Administration. In addition, the complaint alleged that Organon delayed listing the patent with the FDA in another effort to delay the availability of lower-cost generic substitutes. The $26 million settlement resolved claims brought by state attorneys general, as well as a private class action brought on behalf of a class of end payors. Organon also agreed to make timely listings of patents and to submit accurate and truthful information to the FDA.
United States and Plaintiff States v. Election Systems and Software, Inc. No. 10-cv-00380 (D.D.C. 2010)
The U.S. Department of Justice and nine plaintiff states filed suit against Election Systems and Software, Inc.’s (“ES&S”) acquisition of Premier Election Solutions, Inc. (“Premier”). ES&S, the largest provider of voting systems in the United States, acquired Premier, a subsidiary of Diebold, Inc. and the second largest provider of voting equipment systems. The acquisition was well under the HSR reporting thresholds. After this acquisition, ES&S provided more than 70 percent of the voting equipment systems used in elections held in the United States. The complaint alleged that because ES&S’s acquisition of Premier joined the two closest competitors in the provision of voting systems, it was likely that states and local governments would have seen higher prices and a decline in quality and innovation in voting equipment systems.
The states and USDOJ reached a settlement with ES&S under which ES&S will sell Premier’s intellectual property for all past, present and in-development voting equipment systems to another competitor. The buyer will have the ability to compete for contracts to install new voting systems using the Premier product. ES&S is prohibited for 10 years from competing for new
installations using a Premier product. The buyer will also receive copies of all existing
Premier service contracts so that it can compete for contracts that are up for renewals.