Following guilty pleas to criminal price-fixing by several LCD manufacturers, and a conviction after trial of another, Oregon 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. A number of states filed in the MDL, but Oregon filed originally in federal district court in Oregon, and was transferred, with its consent, to the MDL. Oregon reached individual settlements with many defendants, totaling $21 million (Hitachi Displays, $565,000; Chi Mai, $1,634,600; Epson, $105,000; LG Display, $6,975,000; Sharp, $1,950,000; Samsung, $4.5 million; AU Optronics, $4.25 million; Toshiba, $525,000; HannStar, $1 million)
The FTC and states alleged that the companies had entered into a “pay-for-delay” arrangement, whereby Perrigo paid Alpharma to withdraw its generic version from the market for Children’t ibuprofen.According to the complaint, in June 1998, Perrigo and Alpharma signed an agreement allocating to Perrigo the sale of OTC children’s liquid ibuprofen for seven years. In exchange for agreeing not to compete, Alpharma received an up-front payment and a royalty on Perrigo’s sales of children’s liquid ibuprofen. The FTC received $6.25 million to compensate injured consumers. The states received $1.5 million in lieu of civil penalties. the parties were enjoined from future agreements.
The settlement resolved allegations that the companies engaged in illegal and anticompetitive practices related to bids for highway pavement marking contracts on State of Oregon projects. The state alleged that 3M, a manufacturer of pavement striping tape, and SPM, a striping contractor, exchanged information regarding bids, coordinated bids, allocated projects and provided false certifications. As a result, the state alleged that competition was reduced and the government received less advantageous terms for the purchase and installation of roadway marking products. The companies denied wrongdoing. The settlement required 3M and SPM to pay a combined $750,000 to the State of Oregon. An additional $750,000 was made available as a credit to the Oregon Department of Transportation for a total of $1.5 million. The companies also agreed to refrain from conduct that could substantially lessen competition and to provide the Department ongoing certification of compliance.
33 states investigated “pay for delay” allegations relating to DDAVP, a drug used to alleviate bed-wetting. States alleged that Aventis, holder of the patent for the medication, engaged in a scheme to delay the regulatory approval and sale of a generic version of DDAVP, in violation of state and federal antitrust law. States and defendants entered into a settlement under which states received $3.45 million, not as a civil penalty and defendants did not admit guilt.
Defendants owned a retail market that sells fuel. State alleged that the defendants used threats and intimidation to seek to fix the price of gas at Ray’s Market and Klamath River Gas, a nearby station. State also alleged violations of its consumer protection act because the advertised price of gas was less than what was charged at the pump. Defendants were enjoined from future violations and paid $5,000, which the state agreed to accept in lieu of the $25,000 award.
Defendant Monem was employed by state Dept. of Corrections as purchaser of food. Monem accepted bribes from several food wholesalers to purchase food for the prison system. USDOJ sought civil forfeiture of some of defendants’ assets. State brought state RICO, bribery and antitrust claims. Judgment was entered against defendants in the amount of $4,556,103 and property held by corporations they had set up was sold in partial judgment on that claim.
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.
U.S. and 17 states sued to enjoin merger of Ticketmaster, the nation’s largest ticketing services company, and Live Nation, the nation’s largest concert promoter.
According to the Complaint, the parties announced their merger shortly after Live Nation had entered the concert ticketing business as Ticketmaster’s closest competitor. The complaint alleged that consumers and major concert venues would
face higher ticket service charges as a result of the merger
The settlement requires the merging parties to license its ticketing software to Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG). AEG is the nation’s second largest promoter and the operator of some of the largest concert venues in the country. The merging parties are further required to divest Ticketmaster’s entire Paciolan business, which provides a venue-managed platform for selling tickets through the venue’s own web site. Paciolan is to be divested to Comcast/Spectacor, a sports and entertainment company with a management relationship with a number of concert venues. Comcast also has ticketing experience through its New Era ticketing company.The settlement also prohibits the merging parties from retaliating against venue owners who contract with the merging parties’ competitors.
Plaintiff states alleged that Marsh, an insurance broker, made collusive arrangements whereby brokers entered into agreements with insurers to receive undisclosed compensation and engaged in anticompetitive conduct in the market for commercial liability insurance. March agreed to reveal all commissions paid, and to pay the states $7 million.
JBS, headquartered in Brazil, sought to acquire National Beef Packing, Inc., headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri. The U.S. Department of Justice and 13 states sued to block the transaction, which, according to the complaint, would substantially restructure the beef packing industry, eliminating a competitively significant packer and placing more than 80 percent of domestic fed cattle packing capacity in the hands of three firms: JBS, Tyson Foods Inc., and Cargill Inc. The complaint alleged that the acquisition would lessen competition among packers in the production and sale of USDA-graded boxed beef nationwide and would lessen competition among packers for the purchase of fed cattle ? cattle ready for slaughter ? in the High Plains, centered in Colorado, western Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas, and the Southwest. In February 2009, the parties announced that they were abandoning the transaction.