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As a regular reader of The Antitrust Attorney Blog, you understand that setting prices or allocating markets with your competitor is a terrible idea. Doing so is likely to lead to civil litigation and perhaps even criminal penalties. Price fixing and market allocation agreements are per se antitrust violations. That means they are the worst of the worst of anticompetitive conduct.
Bona Law filed an antitrust lawsuit on behalf of our client in the Northern District of Georgia alleging antitrust violations in the cement and ready mix concrete markets. More on that later. But first I am going to tell you a fictional story about your nine-year-old son and his first entrepreneurial endeavor.
In the market, there are many ways to buy and sell products or services. For example, if you want to purchase some coconut milk—my favorite kind of milk—you can walk into a grocery store, go to the milk section, examine the prices of the different brands, and if one of them is acceptable to you, carry that milk to the register and pay the listed price.
The doctrine of federal antitrust law includes several immunities and exemptions—entire areas that are off limits to certain antitrust actions. This can be confusing, especially because these “exceptions” arise, grow, and shrink over time, at the seeming whim of federal courts. As a matter of interpretation, the Supreme Court demands that courts view such exemptions and immun ...
If you have sold or purchased a home recently, you might be under the impression that real estate commissions—the price to engage a real estate broker—are fixed or otherwise set by law in different geographic markets. They aren’t—to do so amounts to price-fixing, which is a per se violation of the antitrust laws.
You may not realize this, but a lot of people don’t like lawyers. We even have our own genre of comedy that predates Shakespeare: lawyer jokes. Here is a common example: What do you call 1000 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? A good start! When you heard that joke for the first time, you probably laughed and laughed, shook your head and said, “funny because it’s true.
Author: Luis Blanquez Luis Blanquez is a European Competi ...
If you are the antitrust lawyer for a defendant in a class action, defeating class certification is a major victory—usually a complete victory, pending appeal. You can read a more complete description of the requirements for class certification in our article on the class action antitrust case of Comcast v. Behrend.
Author: Luis Blanquez Luis Blanquez is an antitrust attorney at Bona Law with fifteen years of competition experience in different jurisdictions within the European Union such as Spain, France, Belgium and the UK. He lives in San Diego and is in the process of becoming a member of the California bar.
I have written many briefs over the years, since graduating from Harvard Law School in 2001. I have also read many briefs, both practicing law and clerking for Judge James B. Loken on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (in Minneapolis). The quality and style of the legal briefs I have seen vary dramatically.
If, like me, you have ever spoken to someone that faces criminal indictment by a federal grand jury following a Justice Department antitrust investigation, you know why antitrust compliance counseling and training is a big deal—you don’t need reasons; hearing the crackle of the voice is enough to understand.
Do you or your competitor have a monopoly in a particular market? If so, your conduct or their conduct might enter the territory of the Sherman Act—Section 2—called monopolization. If you are in Europe or other jurisdictions outside of the United States, instead of monopoly, people will refer to the company with extreme market power as “dominant.
We have entered a Supreme-Court-Justice-Nomination season. These are always interesting times for lawyers, politicians, and real people. There are only nine Justices on the Supreme Court, so whenever there is an opening, it is a big deal. Appointments are for life, or until a Justice wants to leave, for whatever reason (or impeachment, but we haven’t had to worry about that lately).
At Bona Law, nobody owns any ideas. If I come up with an argument for a brief, it isn’t the Jarod-Bona idea. If a client or a paralegal or a junior attorney or my six-year-old son tells me that the strategy that I have set on a complex antitrust case has a flaw, he or she is not criticizing my idea or strategy.
I won’t hide the ball; I’ll just tell you the answer: Federal district courts deciding motions to dismiss an antitrust case too often apply the summary-judgment standard to conspiracy allegations, particularly when confronted with non-parallel-conduct cases. This isn’t scientific or empirical—it is my observation and is enough of an issue that more than one federal appellate c ...
As an attorney defending an antitrust class action, your job is to get your client out of the case as expeditiously and inexpensively as possible. There are several exit points. For example, with a little help from the US Supreme Court’s Twombly decision, you might find your way out with a motion to dismiss, asserting (among other potential arguments) that plaintiffs fail to a ...
Like life, sometimes antitrust conspiracies are complicated. Not everything always fits into a neat little package. An articulate soundbite or an attractive infograph isn’t necessarily enough to explain the reality of what is going on. The paradigm example of an antitrust conspiracy is the smoke-filled room of competitors with their evil laughs deciding what prices their custo ...
In early 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court held in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC that the “active state supervision” prong of the state-action immunity from antitrust liability test applied to state licensing boards controlled by market participants. You can read my analysis of the decision here. And you can read the amicus brief that Bona Law filed in the case here.
FTC Commissioner Joshua Wright recently announced his retirement from the FTC Commission to go back to George Mason University School of Law. But he did not go out quietly. Not only was he incredibly productive during his FTC tenure, but he left right after the Federal Trade Commission issued “Principles Regarding ‘Unfair Methods of Competition’ Under Section 5 of the FTC Act.
What is great about practicing antitrust law is that you take deep dives into the intricacies of different markets from the shelf space in drug stores for condoms—an actual case from several years ago—to insurance brokerage pricing to processed eggs and everything in between. There are, however, certain industries that repeat themselves in the antitrust world, which isn’t a su ...