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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Connecticut v. Marsh & McLennan Companies et al., , No. X05-CV-05-4004360-S (Ct. Super. Ct. 2009)

Plaintiff state originially sued insurance carrier ACE, alleging kickbacks from ACE to Marsh. See In the Matter of ACE Ltd. and ACE Group Holdings, Inc. The state later expanded the lawsuit against Marsh, alleging that, when Marsh customers wanted to purchase insurance or renew insurance they already had, Marsh brokers frequently decided which insurer should be given the business and at what price. Marsh’s quote for insurance was typically a substantial increase — as much as 15 to 20 percent — over the previous year’s price.

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California v. TRW, No. 2:18-cv-13286 (E.D. Mich.) filed 10/22/18

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.

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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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FTC and Plaintiff States v. Mallilnckrodt Ard Inc. (formerly Questcor), No. 1:17-cv-00120 (D.D.C. Jan. 18, 2017)

Four states and the FTC reached a $100 million settlement with Mallinckrodt plc and its US subsidiary, formerly known as Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. resolving a lawsuit accusing Questcor of monopolizing the market for Achthar, the only adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) based therapeutic drug sold in the United States. ACTH is used as a last resort to treat infantile spasms and multiple sclerosis. Questcor allegedly blocked competition for Acthar by disrupting the bidding process and acquiring the U.S. rights for Synacthen Depot, the only other ACTH based drug sold in the world. In 2001, Questcor bought the rights to Acthar and increased the price of it by 85,000 percent, charging over $34,000 for a vial of the drug that used to cost $40 per vial. In 2012, Novartis Pharma A.G sold the U.S. rights of Synacthen, Achthar’s only competitor. The complaint alleges that three other companies had all conducted due diligence and submitted formal offers for Synacthen with plans to develop and launch Synacthen in the United States in direct competition with Questcor. However, perceiving the threat to its U.S. monopoly if a rival drug company purchased the assets, Questcor stepped in to outbid the three other companies, offering Novartis $135 million in guaranteed payments with only vague plans for Synacthen and after very limited due diligence. Through the acquisition, Questcor sought to extinguish the most likely challenges to its Acthar monopoly. According to the complaint, this allowed Questcor to continue charging over $34,000 per vial for H.P. Acthar Gel. In addition to paying $100 million in disgorgement, Under the settlement, Mallinckrodt will pay $100 million. The company will also be required to license a competitor to the rights it acquired from Novartis to commercialize and develop Synacthen in the United States, including the Synacthen trademark, along with clinical trial data and certain intellectual property related to manufacturing and formulation. Mallinckrodt is also prohibited from taking actions that would interfere with clinical trials or clinical plans for Synacthen.

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California v. Panasonic Corporation, No. 2:16-cv-14117 (E.D. Mich. Nov. 21, 2016)

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 state�s 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.

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Florida v, NSK Ltd.

State alleged price-fixing in the market for automotive ball bearings, including bearings used throughout the automobile, from 2000 to the present. The defendants control 75 percent of the market, and entry is not easy. Several of the defendants entered guilty pleas to criminal charges brought by USDOJ.

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State of Florida et al. v. Hitachi-LG Data Storage Inc. et al., No.3:13-cv-01877

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.

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People of the State of California v. EBay, Inc., No. CV12-5874 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 16, 2012)

State filed suit (simultaneous with USDOJ suit) alleging EBay and Intuit agreed from 2008 to 2009 not to hire one another’s employees. This agreement, allegedly enforced at the highest levels in the companies, prevented employees from seeking positions at the other companies. USDOJ filed a separate suit, but California’s seeks to enforce California laws which contain stronger protections against anti-competitive conduct than federal law. California reached a settlement with eBay for approximately $4 million in restitution to employees, damages for harm to the state’s economy, and civil penalties

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Texas et al. v. Penguin Group et al., No. 1:12-cv-03394-DLC (S.D.N.Y, Apr. 30, 2012)

TTexas and Connecticut led 33 state group that filed complaint charging three of the nation’s largest book publishers and Apple Inc. with colluding to fix the sales prices of electronic books. The States undertook a two-year investigation into allegations that the defendants conspired to raise e-book prices. Retailers had long sold e-books through a traditional wholesale distribution model, under which retailers, not publishers, set e-book sales prices. The states alleged that Penguin, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan conspired with other publishers and Apple to artificially raise prices by imposing a distribution model in which the publishers set the prices for bestsellers at $12.99 and $14.99. When Apple prepared to enter the e-book market, the publishers and Apple agreed to adopt an agency distribution model as a mechanism to allow them to fix prices. To enforce their price-fixing scheme, the publishers and Apple relied on contract terms that forced all e-book outlets to sell their products at the same price. Because the publishers agreed to use the same prices, retail price competition was eliminated. According to the States’ enforcement action, the coordinated agreement to fix prices resulted in e-book customers paying more than $100 million in overcharges. The States’ antitrust action seeks injunctive relief, damages for customers who paid artificially inflated prices for e-books and civil penalties. Case was filed in W.D. Tex., transferred to S.D.N.Y. as consolidated case. The States reached settlements with the five publishers, which granted E-book outlets greater freedom to reduce the prices of their E-book titles. Consumers nationwide received a total of $164 million in compensation. After entering into settlement agreement with all the Defendant publishers, DOJ and the states had a nearly 3 week trial against Apple in June 2013, during which numerous witnesses took the stand. On July 10, 2013, a decision was handed down in favor of the U.S. Department of Justice and the states against Apple. Trial of the damages phase is pending. United States et al. v. Apple, Inc., 12-CV-2826 (S.D.N.Y.).

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