Thirty-seven states filed a lawsuit against Google for monopolizing the smartphone application market in violation of state and federal antitrust laws. According to the complaint, Google operates a web of exclusionary agreements with phone manufacturers and carriers to exert control over app distribution on Android phones through its Google Play Store. By leveraging those anticompetitive…
Plaintiff state sued staffing agencies Elite Staffing, Inc. (Elite), Metro Staff, Inc. (Metro) and Midway Staffing, Inc. (Midway), as well as their client Colony, Inc. (Colony). The complaint alleged that the three staffing agencies formed an unlawful agreement to refuse to solicit or hire the other’s employees and to fix the wages paid to their…
The FTC, New York and six other states filed suit against Vyera Pharmaceuticals, its parent company, Phoenixus and its former officers, Kevin Mulleady and 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…
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.