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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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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People v. Pratibha Syntex Ltd., No. BC499751 (Cal. Super. Ct., LA Cty. Dec. 10, 2015)

Plaintiff state filed suits against international apparel manufacturer for gaining an unfair competitive advantage over American companies by using pirated software in the production of clothing imported and sold in California. The complaint alleged that the foreign apparel manufacturer, based in India, who did not paid software licensing fees has a significant cost advantage in the low-margin business of apparel manufacturing, shipment and sales. The company did not pay licensing fees for software products manufactured by Adobe, Microsoft, Symantec and others. Since 2010, Pratibha shipped approximately 19,000 pounds of apparel products into California. The complaint alleges that the company obtained an unfair advantage because it can redirect money saved by using pirated software to hire employees and to expand their facilities and their research and development efforts. Furthermore, American companies that are developing software, particularly software that is used in the garment industry, are discouraged from investing in new technology and products if they know their software will be used illegally. In December 2015, a settlement was reached, the first time a state has secured a legally enforceable judgment against an international company for these types of violations. The settlement requires Pratibha Syntex to pay $100,000 in restitution within 30 days. The settlement prohibits Pratibha Syntex from using unlicensed software or reproducing any part of a copyrighted software program without the permission of the legitimate copyright holder, and further requires the company to perform four complete audits of the software on their computers and fix any violations within 45 days. In addition, Pratibha Syntex must draft an information technology policy statement regarding the use of licensed software and distribute this policy to all employees

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South Carolina v. AU Optronics et al.,

Plaintiff state filed complaint in state court, alleging that the defendant manufacturers of liquid crystal display (“LCD”) panels had engaged in a price-fixing conspiracy from 1996 through 2006. The State sought civil forfeitures for violations of the state Antitrust Act; statutory penalties for violations of SCUTPA and restitution on behalf of South Carolina citizens for violations of SCUTPA, Defendants removed the case pursuant to CAFA, alleging it was a class action and mass action under CAFA because the real parties in interest are the state citizens who will receive restitution. The district court remanded the case to state court, on the grounds that the state had a quasi sovereign interest in the case and was the real party in interest. The Fourth Circuit affirmed the decision, in part because the relief available to the state was available to it alone. The case is stayed pending a decision by the Supreme Court in Mississippi ex rel. Hood v. AU Optronics.

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South Carolina v. LG Display Col, Ltd. et al.

Plaintiff state filed complaint in state court, alleging that the defendant manufacturers of liquid crystal display (“LCD”) panels had engaged in a price-fixing conspiracy from 1996 through 2006. The State sought civil forfeitures for violations of the state Antitrust Act; statutory penalties for violations of SCUTPA and restitution on behalf of South Carolina citizens for violations of SCUTPA, Defendants removed the case pursuant to CAFA, alleging it was a class action and mass action under CAFA because the real parties in interest are the state citizens who will receive restitution. The district court remanded the case to state court, on the grounds that the state had a quasi sovereign interest in the case and was the real party in interest. The Fourth Circuit affirmed the decision, in part because the relief available to the state was available to it alone. The case is stayed pending a decision by the Supreme Court in Mississippi ex rel. Hood v. AU Optronics.

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In re GE Funding Capital Market Services, Inc. (Municipal Bond Derivatives)

Starting in 2008, the states investigated the municipal bond derivatives market, where tax exempt entities like governments and nonprofit organizations issue bonds and reinvest the proceeds until the funds are needed or enter into contracts to hedge interest rate risk on bonds. GE Funding is the fifth financial institution to settle with the multistate working group in the ongoing municipal bond derivatives investigation following Bank of America, UBS AG, JP Morgan and Wachovia.
The investigation revealed conspiratorial and fraudulent conduct involving individuals at financial institutions and certain brokers with whom they had working relationships. The states’ investigation developed evidence that certain traders at GE Funding, in concert with certain brokers, engaged in conduct that allowed the broker to determine in advance that GE Funding would win a bid for a guaranteed investment contract. The conduct allowed GE Funding to submit a “last look’’ bid, while the broker arranged for other financial institutions to submit purposely non-winning courtesy bids. Because of the “last look,” on many occasions GE Funding was able to lower its bid to the issuer and still win the transaction.The misconduct led state and local entities, such as municipalities, counties, school districts and other government agencies, as well as nonprofits, to enter into municipal derivatives contracts on less advantageous terms than they would have otherwise.

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In re J.P. Morgan Chase (Municipal Bond Derivatives)

Starting in 2008, the states investigated the municipal bond derivatives market, where tax exempt entities like governments and nonprofit organizations issue bonds and reinvest the proceeds until the funds are needed or enter into contracts to hedge interest rate risk on bonds.
The investigation revealed conspiratorial and fraudulent conduct involving individuals at JPMC, other financial institutions, and certain brokers with whom they had working relationships. The states alleged that certain JPMC 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 state and local entities, such as municipalities, counties, school districts and other government agencies, as well as nonprofits, to enter into municipal derivatives contracts on less advantageous terms than they would have otherwise. The $66.5 million multistate settlement is one component of a coordinated settlements (totaling $92 million) between JPMC and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Internal Revenue Service, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), as well as the states.

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People of the State of California v. AU Optronics Corp., No. CGC-10-504651 (Super. Ct. San. Fran. Cty. 2010)

Plaintiff state filed an antitrust action against several major technology companies for
illegally fixing prices for liquid crystal display (“LCD”) screens used in computers, televisions, and cell phones. The lawsuit seeks to recover damages suffered from 1998 to 2006 by Washington and other public purchasers that purchased computers and other goods containing the price-fixed screens. The suit seeks damages, restitution, and civil penalties on behalf of the state and as parens patriae for state consumers.

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State ex rel. Cooper v. McBarnette, No. 10 CV 020647 (N.C. Super Ct. Wake County, Dec. 21. 2010)

State sued defendant and his company for agreeing not to bid at auctions of foreclosed properties, after being paid by other bidders. Defendant was enjoined from further participation in real estate auctions, paid fines to the state and restitution to the property owners.

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