The Colorado AG’s office investigated whether Trammell Crow, acting as the City and County of Denver’s program manager for its Convention Center expansion project, and its former employee, Michael Sullivan, improperly exchanged confidential information about the project and procurement process with Mortenson Company that they did not share with other prospective bidders. (See entry on…
Colorado attorney general entered into Assurance of Discontinuance with general contractor M. A. Mortenson Company to resolve claims resulting from the attorney general’s investigation into an alleged bid-rigging scheme related to the City and County of Denver’s plans to upgrade and expand the Colorado Convention Center. The office’s investigation centered on whether Mortenson violated the…
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…
In May 2015, the FTC settled a “pay-for-delay” suit against Cephalon for injunctive relief and $1.2 billion, which was paid into an escrow account. The FTC settlement allowed for those escrow funds to be distributed for settlement of certain related cases and government investigations. In August 2016, forty-eight states filed suit in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Cephalon alleging anticompetitive conduct by Cephalon to protect the profits it earned from having a patent-protected monopoly on the sale of its landmark drug, Provigil. According to the complaint, Cephalon’s conduct delayed generic versions of Provigil from entering the market for several years. The complaint alleged that as patent and regulatory barriers that prevented generic competition to Provigil neared expiration, Cephalon intentionally defrauded the Patent and Trademark Office to secure an additional patent, which a court subsequently deemed invalid and unenforceable. Before it was declared invalid, Cephalon was able to use the patent to delay generic competition for nearly six additional years by filing patent infringement lawsuits. Cephalon settled those lawsuits by paying competitors to delay sale of their generic versions of Provigil until at least April 2012. Consumers, states, and others paid millions more for Provigil than they would have had generic versions of the drug launched by early 2006, as expected. A settlement was filed with the complaint, which includes $35 million for distribution to consumers who bought Provigil.
Plaintiff states entered into settlement agreement with Natixis Funding Corp. for fraudulent and anticompetitive conduct in municipal bond derivative transactions with state and local government entities and nonprofits across the country. Natixis will pay $29,950,000 as part of a coordinated 22-state and private class settlement. The funds will mostly be applied to restitution for municipalities, counties, government agencies, school districts and nonprofits that the states allege were harmed when they entered into municipal derivatives contracts with Natixis. In 2008, the plaintiff states, in parallel with the U.S. Department of Justice and federal regulatory agencies, began their investigation of the municipal bond derivatives market. In these markets, tax exempt entities such as municipalities, school districts, and nonprofit organizations issue municipal bonds and reinvest the proceeds until the funds are needed or enter into contracts to hedge interest rate risk. These investigations revealed anticompetitive and fraudulent conduct involving individuals at a number of large financial institutions, including Natixis, and certain brokers with whom they had worked. Certain Natixis employees and their counterparts at other institutions rigged bids, submitted noncompetitive courtesy bids and fraudulent certificates of arms-length bidding to government agencies. The misconduct led local and state governments, as well as nonprofits, to enter into municipal derivatives contracts on less advantageous terms than they would have otherwise. Natixis agreed to pay $23.4 million into a settlement fund and $1.5 million to the attorneys general as an additional payment. Natixis also agreed not to submit non-competitive bids or refrain from bidding on, or coordinate the preparation of bids for municipal derivatives and to cooperate with ongoing investigations.
State of West Virginia ex rel., Darrell v. McGraw, Jr., Attorney General v. Acordia of West Virginia, Inc., No. 04-C-115 (Cir. Ct. Hancock Cty. WV)
In 2004, the State filed suit,claiming that certain insurance practices related to the placement of insurance policies violated the State of West Virginia’s Antitrust and Consumer Credit and Protection Acts. The Attorney General sought damages under the Antitrust Act on behalf of the State, its public agencies, counties, municipalities, and other political subdivisions, and as parens patriae of natural person who are citizens and residents of the State. Case was settled for $8 million to be distributed by WV AG’s office.
Puerto Rico filed administrative charges against 34 school bus contractors who provided services to the state Department of Education, alleging that they agreed to fix prices and reduce services to a number of municipalities, as well as limiting geographic markets. the parties paid $170,000 and agreed to injunctive provisions to prevent future violations.
Three states alleged Herman Miller (HMH) sought to raise and maintain retail prices on its “AERON” chairs. According to the complaint, HMH responded to complaints and urging by HMH’s retailers, beginning in 2001, by establishing and announcing minimum prices, below which retailers were prohibited from advertising any HMH furniture. Under HMH’s Suggested Retail Price policy, HMH retailers had to agree with HMH not to advertise below HMH’s dictated prices for Aeron chairs in any medium where prices can be seen by consumers. HMH was enjoined from using the SRP program for two years,and from telling dealers how much to sell their chairs for. HMH paid $750,00 to the plaintiff states.
The state sued Microsoft in 2004 on behalf of governmental purchasers and as parens patriae for its citizens claiming the company monopolized the market for software and caused customers to pay more for software than they would have if there had been competition. Microsoft agreed to pay Mississippi $40 million. Up to $60 million in hardware/software vouchers will be provided to consumers, businesses, all county/local/municipal government entities, public schools and public school districts. Depending on how many vouchers go unclaimed, Mississippi could get an addition $8 million. All Mississippi residents, businesses, county/local governments or schools that purchased Microsoft products or computers containing Microsoft products between January 1, 1996 and June 2009 were eligible to receive a voucher of $12 or $5 (depending on which products were purchased). The vouchers could be used towards the purchase of any software or hardware product (not just Microsoft).