Utah et al. v. Google LLC, No. 3:21-cv-05227 (N.D. Cal. July 7, 2021)

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…

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Illinois v. Elite Staffing, No. 2020CH05156 (Cir. Ct. Cook Cty. Ill. July 29, 2020)

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…

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In the Matter of Investigation of Emergent BioSolutions, Inc.. Assurance No. 19-156 Dec. 31, 2019)

New York reached an agreement with Emergent BioSolutions, manufacturers of the opioid overdose reversal nasal spray NARCAN, to allow additional companies to gain access to the nasal spray delivery devices developed by Emergent. In February 2016, Adapt Pharma, Inc. launched a naloxone nasal spray, branded as NARCAN, in the United States. Naloxone has been used…

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In re: Franchise No Poaching Provisions, King Cty. Super Ct., Wash. 2019

The Attorney General of Washington has entered into a series of agreements with 75 national chains who included so-called “no-poach” provisions in their franchise agreements. No-poach clauses appear in franchise agreements between owners of franchises and corporate headquarters. The clauses prohibit employees from moving among stores in the same corporate chain, a practice that economists…

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In the Matter of Invesigation of Hornblower Group, Inc., AOD no. 19-103

An attorney general’s investigation of the dining cruise market in New York Harbor indicated that Hornblower Group, Inc. had obtained dominance in New York City’s dining cruise market through its acquisition of Entertainment Cruises. The investigation also confirmed that while other already-existing dining cruise operators wished to expand their operations into New York City, they…

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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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FTC and Plaintiff States (CA and DC) v. Draft Kings, No. 17-cv-01195 (D.D.C. 2017)

States and the FTC sued to block the merger of the two largest daily fantasy sports sites, alleging that the combined firm would control more than 90 percent of the US market for paid daily fantasy sports contests. Plaintiff states and the FTC allege that the defendants compete with each other on price and quality.

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The State of California, et al. v. Samsung SDI, Co., Ltd., et al., Case No. CGC-11-515784, Calif. Superior Court, San Fran. Cty. Nov. 8, 2011

California sued makers of CRTs alleging they were part of a price-fixing scheme that resulted in overcharges in the price of products that contained CRTs, such as televisions and computer monitors. The alleged price fixing scheme occurred between March 1, 1995 and November 25, 2007. According to the complaint, the conspiracy involved top-level meetings of key executive decision-makers in Asia and Europe to set prices and outputs of CRTs. It also involved worldwide meetings among lower-level executives to exchange confidential information. The settlements, which were filed in San Francisco Superior Court, require all five companies to pay a total of $4.95 million to settle claims of overcharges paid by California government entities, general damages suffered by the State’s economy, and civil penalties. The settlements require that the companies pay back the illegally obtained profits to those affected by their actions. In addition, the settlements include injunctive relief, which requires that each company engage in company-wide antitrust compliance training and reporting that involves products in addition to CRTs and extends to foreign companies and subsidiaries. Finally, the settlements include requirements, enforceable by the court via fines and imprisonment, to prevent future violations of antitrust law. There was a parallel class action by indirect purchasers nationwide that was brought in federal court by private parties. The state worked with the private plaintiffs and a settlement agreement was reached, under which California consumers recovered damages.

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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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