The recent economic upheaval, coupled with corporate and financial scandals and a new administration, created an increasingly sharp focus on antitrust issues. Companies of all sizes are being subjected to intense government scrutiny, and criminal antitrust prosecutions are resulting in record fines and increasingly lengthy periods of incarceration.
American Honda Finance Company • Impax Laboratories, Inc. • Visa USA, Inc
Keker & Van Nest’s antitrust practice is well-versed in the sensitive issues affecting civil and criminal matters. On the civil side, we defend against and prosecute individual and class action antitrust claims in federal and state court, administrative proceedings and investigations by government authorities. On the criminal side, we represent individuals and corporations facing federal and state investigations.
Cases of Note
State of New York v. Intel Corp.: We were lead trial counsel for Intel Corp. in a high-profile antitrust case. The New York Attorney General claimed Intel violated federal and state antitrust statutes by maintaining an illegal monopoly in the microprocessor market. We won several key motions near the start of trial that severely limited the scope of New York's case. The matter settled shortly thereafter with a payment by Intel of only $6.5 million in partial repayment of some of New York's costs.
Plaintiffs v. National Milk Producers Federation et al: We are defending one of the largest dairy producers in the country from an antitrust class action. Plaintiffs claim the dairy producers illegally conspired to raise market prices of milk, costing consumers $9.55 billion.
United States v. Executive: We are defending the former owner of a California-based agribusiness company from antitrust, mail fraud and bribery charges brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento. Prosecutors allege that our client violated the Sherman Antitrust Act by participating in a conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition in the tomato processing industry by raising and fixing prices, and rigging bids for the sale of tomato paste within the U.S. We are now challenging the government’s unlawful seizure of documents, wiretaps and other materials.
Discover v. Visa USA, Inc.: We defended Visa USA, Inc. in one of the largest private civil antitrust matters in U.S. history. Discover sued MasterCard and Visa for alleged antitrust violations, claiming that credit card network rules affected member banks’ ability to issue American Express and Discover cards. The case settled on the eve of trial for billions less than Discover claimed. We also defended Visa in a similar action brought by American Express.
Abbott and Fournier v. Impax Laboratories, Inc.: We represented Impax Laboratories, Inc. against Abbott and the French pharmaceutical company Fournier in a plaintiff-side antitrust case that alleged monopolization in a drug market. We led the trial presentation for all of the plaintiffs, and secured a settlement for Impax midway through the trial.
Plaintiffs v. Automobile Manufacturers: We defended automakers in multi-forum, antitrust litigation involving restrictions on car exports in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Plaintiffs, alleging a broad conspiracy among all major automobile manufacturers and distributors, sought damages of more than $1 billion. We won summary judgment in the lead federal litigation, in several state cases, and in the California state court class action. We also achieved early dismissal of numerous state court actions.
United States Department of Justice v. Business Owners: We represented a group of family-owned businesses in connection with the U.S. Department of Justice’s criminal investigation into alleged bid-rigging in the rubberized asphalt industry. After a number of company employees were called to testify before a grand jury, we convinced the government that their clients’ bidding practices were entirely legal. The government then closed the investigation with no charges filed.