FTC et al. v. Vyera Pharmaceuticals, No. 1:20-cv-00706 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 19, 2020)

The FTC, New York and six other states filed suit against Vyera Pharmaceuticals and its former CEO, Martin Shkreli, alleging anticompetivie conduct in connection with Daraprim, the only FDA approved drug for the treatment of the life-threatening parasitic disease toxoplasmosis.  The suit alleges that Vyera purchases the unpatented and widely available drug in 2015 and…

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California ex rel. Becerra v. Sutter Health, No. 18-565398

State sued Sutter Health, the largest hospital system in northern California, alleging that Sutter engaged in anticompetitive behavior in violation of the Cartwright Act by 1) establishing, increasing and maintaining Sutter’s power to control prices and exclude competition; 2) foreclosing price competition by Sutter’s competitors; and 3) enabling Sutter to impose prices for hospital healthcare services and ancillary products that far exceed the prices it would have been able to charge in an unconstrained, competitive market. The complaint alleges that Sutter did this by: Preventing insurance companies from negotiating with it on anything other than “all or nothing†system-wide basis, requiring health insurers under the terms of contract with Sutter Health to negotiate with all the Sutter Health system or face termination of their contract; Preventing insurance companies from giving consumers more low-cost health plan options, for example, charging a $200 out-of-pocket cost for an outpatient surgery performed by a facility outside of the preferred group and $100 for outpatient surgery performed by a facility inside the preferred group; Setting excessively high out-of-network rates for patients who must seek care outside of their provider network; Restricting publication of provider cost information and rates. The complaint alleged three causes of action under the Cartwright Act: price tampering and fixing; unreasonable restraint of trade; and combination to monopolize. The state sought injunctive relief, disgorgement and attroneys fees.

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New York et al. v. Deutsche Telekom AG et al., No. 1:19-cv-5434 (S.D.N.Y.)

States challenged merger of T-Mobile and Sprint, the third and fourth-largest mobile telecommunications providers in the U.S., alleging that shrinking the national wireless carrier pool down from four to three providers would decrease competition and create higher prices for consumers. The US Department of Justice and seven states entered into a settlement with the parties…

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Oregon ex rel. Rosenbloom v. LG Electronics, No. 120810246, (Ore. Cir. Ct., Multnomah Cty)

Oregon filed suit against cathode ray tube (CRT) manufacturers, alleging that they illegally agreed upon the pricing of CRTs. The Attorney General filed this action on behalf of the State of Oregon and Oregon natural persons, and sought restitution, civil penalties, disgorgement and injunctive relief.

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Florida v. General Chemical Corp. No. 2:17-00384 (D.N.J. Jan. 19, 2017)

Plaintiff state filed action in federal court alleging market allocation and price-fixing among manufacturers of the chemical liquid aluminum sulfate, which is a coagulant used to remove impurities and other substances from water. It is used primarily by municipalities in wastewater treatment. There are high barriers to entry and substitution is difficult. There have been several USDOJ indictments in the industry. The complaint alleged that the defendants conspired to circumvent competitive bidding and independent pricing and to raise liquid aluminum sulfate prices by submitting artificially inflated bids in Florida from 1997 through at least February 2012. The state alleged that fraudulent concealment of the conspiracy tolled the statute of limitations.

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State of Wisconsin et al. v. Indivior, No. 16-5073 (E.D. Pa. Sept. 22,2016)

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.

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West Virginia ex rel. Morrisey v. CRH, PLC, No. 17-C-41 (Cir. Ct. Kanawha Cty. Jan. 11, 2017)

CRH, PLC, through its subsidiary Oldcastle, is the largest producer of asphalt and the third-largest producer of aggregate in the U.S. the complaint alleges that through a series of acquisitions and anticompetitive actions, CRH has effectively exercised significant market power in West Virginia aggregate and asphalt markets. The conduct alleged includes inducing boycotts against competitors, threatening to put new competitors out of business; mandating statewide covenants not to compete for up to 10 years from competitors. The state alleged that CRH’s conduct has significantly increased prices for state road paving contracts in the three markets in the state between 2010 and 2014. the complaint included counts of violations of W.Va. Code 47-18-3 (restraint of trade); W.Va. Code 47-18-4 (monopolization and attempt to monopolize) and unjust enrichment. the complaint seeks injunctive relief, treble damages, disgorgement and restitution, divestiture; civil penalties and costs,

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Connecticut et al. v. Aurobindo Pharma et al. Civ. Action No. (D.Conn. Dec. 15, 2016)

Twenty states filed a federal lawsuit against six generic drug manufacturers, alleging that they entered into long-running and well coordinated illegal conspiracies in order to unreasonably restrain trade, artificially inflate and manipulate prices and reduce competition in the United States for two drugs: doxycycline hyclate delayed release, an antibiotic, and glyburide, an oral diabetes medication. The lawsuit was filed under seal to avoid compromising a continuing investigation. In the complaint, the states allege that the misconduct was conceived and carried out by senior drug company executives and their marketing and sales executives. The complaint further alleges that the defendants routinely coordinated their schemes through direct interaction with their competitors at industry trade shows, customer conferences and other events, as well as through direct email, phone and text message communications. The states further allege that the drug companies knew that their conduct was illegal and made efforts to avoid communicating with each other in writing or, in some instances, to delete written communications after becoming aware of the investigation. The states allege the anticompetitive conduct, including price-fixing and price maintenance, market allocation and other anticompetitive acts, caused significant, harmful and continuing effects in the country’s healthcare system. The states sought an injunction to prevent the companies from engaging in illegal, anticompetitive behavior and also sought equitable relief, including disgorgement. An additional 20 states joined the complaint in March 2017.

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Commonwealth of Kentucky ex rel. Beshear v. Marathon Petroleum Co. LP, No. 3:15-cv-00354 (May 12, 2015)

State filed suit against Marathon, alleging Marathon engaged in anti-competitive practices that lead to higher gas prices for Kentucky consumers in violation of state and federal antitrust laws. State alleged that Marathon abused its monopoly position after its merger with Ashland Oil in 1998. The state alleged, among other actions, that Marathon requires some retailers, thought its supply agreements, to purchase 100 percent of their RFG from Marathon, with penalties if the retailers fail to do so. The agreements also prohibit unbranded retailers from challenging Marathon’s pricing. According to the complaint, Marathon further reduces competition by adding deed restrictions to some of the property parcels it sells that prohibit the purchaser of the property from selling gas or operating a convenience store. Some of the restrictions have an exception that will allow for development of a gas station if the station sells only Marathon gas. State sought injunctive relief, civil penalties of $2000 per violation, restitution to citizens and to the state and attorneys’ fees. Defendants moved to disqualify the outside counsel retained by the state on the grounds that the contingent fee arrangement was improper. The court denied Marathon’s motion to dismiss as to the federal antitrust, state antitrust and deceptive practices claims, but denied the state’s unjust enrichment claim because consumers only conferred an indirect benefit on Marathon by buying gasoline at allegedly inflated prices, not a direct benefit.

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Commonwealth of Pennsyvlania v. Chesapeake Energy Corp, No. 2015IR0069 (Ct. Comm. Pleas, Bradford Cty, 2015)

State filed action in state court alleging market allocation agreement affecting leases for hydraulic fracturing on land in central Pennsylvania. The state alleged that the failure to disclose the agreement violated state consumer protection laws, and that the agreement itself violated Pennsylvania antitrust common law. After defendants argued that Pennsylvania has no state antitrust statute, the state filed an amended complaint which included claims of violations of the federal antitrust laws. Defendants sought removal.

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