ANTITRUST & INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
Lieff Cabraser is at the forefront of innovative and landmark cases promoting fair competition in the marketplace. We assist companies, governments, and consumers affected by anticompetitive conduct by assessing market circumstances and advising whether and how to pursue legal action.
Cutting-Edge Antitrust Litigation
No-poach employment cases
Our antitrust group pioneered the expansion of antitrust litigation into anti-competitive behavior by high-tech giants, national and international corporations, and dominant franchise operations all working illegally to suppress the pay, mobility, and opportunities of their employees.
We spearheaded a series of anti-competition “no-poach” antitrust lawsuits on behalf of employees at universities, medical schools, high-tech companies, hospitals, fast-food franchises, railway systems, as well as other industries.
High Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation
Lieff Cabraser served as Co-Lead Counsel for plaintiffs in a class action charging Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, Lucasfilm, and Pixar in a widespread conspiracy to suppress the pay of over 60,000 technical, creative, and other salaried employees. In September 2015, a $415 million settlement of the action with Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe was approved. With an earlier $20 million Pixar, Intuit, and Lucasfilm settlement, this recovery constitutes the largest in history of employment-setting antitrust claims.
Duke/UNC “No-Poach” Agreements Employee Antitrust Case
We won a $54.5 million settlement and the American Antitrust Institute’s 2019 award for “Outstanding Antitrust Litigation Achievement in Private Law Practice” representing a class of over 5,000 academic doctors in a federal class action against Duke University and the UNC Health Care System alleging that their agreement not to compete for certain of each other’s employees (a “No-Hire” pact) illegally suppressed employee compensation. The settlement includes an unprecedented role for the U.S. Department of Justice to monitor and enforce extensive injunctive relief.
Restasis Drug Antitrust Litigation
Lieff Cabraser serves as interim co-lead counsel for indirect purchasers (i.e., third-party payors and consumers) of Restasis, a blockbuster drug used to treat dry-eye disease, in multidistrict litigation alleging a broad-based and ongoing anticompetitive scheme by pharmaceutical giant Allergan, Inc. The goal of the alleged scheme was and is to maintain Allergan’s monopoly. The complaints assert claims under federal and state law, including the Sherman Act and the statutory and common law of numerous states. In late 2018, plaintiffs successfully defeated defendants’ motion to dismiss the case. In May of 2020, the Court granted plaintiffs’ class certification motion and plaintiffs’ motion to exclude two of the defendants’ experts. The Second Circuit Court denied defendants’ appeal, and the litigation is ongoing.
Knorr and Wabtec Employee Illegal No-Poach Agreements
In late 2018, Lieff Cabraser was selected as Co-Lead Counsel for plaintiffs in the consolidated “no-poach” employee antitrust litigation against rail equipment companies Knorr-Bremse and Wabtec, the world’s dominant rail equipment suppliers. The complaint charged that the companies entered into unlawful agreements not to compete for each other’s employees, suppressing employee pay and mobility. Plaintiffs alleged that these agreements spanned several years, were monitored and enforced by Defendants’ senior executives. Plaintiffs’ vigorous prosecution of the case led to settlements with both defendants totaling $48.95 million. The Court granted final approval to the settlements on August 26, 2020.
Franchise Restaurant Illegal No-Poach Agreement Cases
Lieff Cabraser represents fast-food employees in a series of lawsuits challenging the practices of Jimmy John’s, Burger King, McDonald’s, and Papa John’s fast-food franchises that illegally restrict employee mobility, advancement, and pay. The complaints allege the restaurants’ practices of restricting employees from being hired at other same-franchise stores violate antitrust law and cause worker wages to be lower than they should be. The practices also significantly limit employees’ career mobility and advancement. Lieff Cabraser is proposed Class Counsel in McDonald’s, Jimmy John’s, and Papa John’s, where we recently defeated defendants’ motions to dismiss the cases, also playing a prominent role in the Burger King action. Litigation is ongoing in all cases.
We help people with different problems, fighting against corporate greed
In January 2019, Lieff Cabraser’s antitrust group filed the first-of-its-kind lawsuit alleging that an antitrust conspiracy has fixed the prices in California of the premiums paid for commercial bail bonds since 2004.
In December 2018, we brought the suit on behalf of elite professional swimmers alleging antitrust violations by FINA, the international organization that controls access to the Olympic Games and the World Swimming Championships.
Our antitrust group continues to win record-setting victories against pharmaceutical drug manufacturers for unfair and illegal competition and in cases where drug companies illegally maintain monopolies by paying their competitors not to sell lower-cost generic drugs.
Lovenox® and Generic Enoxaparin Price-Fixing
Lieff Cabraser represents Nashville General Hospital (the Hospital Authority of Metropolitan Government of Nashville) and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees District Council 37 Health & Security Plan in a case against defendants Momenta Pharmaceuticals and Sandoz, Inc., for their alleged price-fixing of enoxaparin, the generic version of the anti-coagulant blood clotting drug Lovenox, a highly profitable drug with annual sales of more than $1 billion. The complaint alleged Momenta and Sandoz colluded to manipulate the process by which the federal government allows drugs to become generic in order to ensure that defendants were the only producers of generic enoxaparin, thereby restraining trade and disrupting the market at consumers’ expense.
In late 2019, the parties agreed to a proposed settlement totaling $120 million on behalf of uninsured consumers, hospitals, and third-party payors who overpaid for Lovenox® or generic enoxaparin from September 2011 through September 2015.
We also continue to demonstrate our commitment to the effective prosecution of traditional antitrust cases across a wide range of industries, including cases for consumers and businesses over antitrust violations regarding batteries, electronic components, contact lenses, and airline ticket prices.
National Recognition Year After Year
We have won recognition for 2020 from Best Lawyers and Legal 500 for our antitrust team’s groundbreaking work, and individual recognition from the National Law Journal and Law360 for practice group Chair Brendan P. Glackin as well as accolades from Legal 500 for “Next Generation Partners” Katherine Benson and Lin Chan.
In 2019, we won the American Antitrust Institute’s 2019 Outstanding Antitrust Litigation Achievement in Private Law Practice award for our work on the Duke/UNC Employee “No-Poach” litigation that led to a settlement valued at over $54 million and institutional changes at Duke and UNC for their hospitals’ employees. In 2017, we won the same award for our work on the seminal Cipro drug antitrust case that led to settlements of $399 million (exceeding plaintiffs’ damages estimate by approximately $68 million in a result the California Superior Court described as “extraordinary.”).
In 2016, we were named “Experts in Competition and Antitrust Law” by Global Competition Review. In 2013, The Recorder recognized our antitrust lawyers as finalists for its first ever California Antitrust Litigation Department of the Year Award.
In 2012, The Daily Journal selected our antitrust practice group as one of the top five practice groups of leading California law firms, observing:
“With De Beers, it was a monopoly on diamonds. With vitamin makers, price-fixing. No matter the transgression, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP will avenge it. Because of that tenacity, the firm’s antitrust practice group over the past 20 years has evolved into one of the most formidable in the state.”
Successfully Challenging Cartels and Monopolies
We have successfully challenged global cartels, conspiracies among would-be competitors, monopolies, and other anti-competitive practices. The result: judgments and settlements in excess of $6 billion in antitrust cases in which our firm has had a leading role.
Our advice springs from a sophisticated understanding of the legal, economic ,and business issues related to antitrust issues. With a blend of courage, superior legal skills, and high principles, we protect our clients’ interests and help them achieve their goals by winning highly-complex antitrust lawsuits against those that have abused market power to eliminate competition.
Protecting the Rights of Innovators and Creators
Our intellectual property practice represents inventors, startups, and businesses in intellectual property disputes against some of the world’s largest technology companies. Our attorneys handle all phases of IP litigation, from pre-litigation licensing strategy to appeals before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Knowledge Across Markets and Industries
Our antitrust and IP attorneys handle cases spanning the global economic spectrum. From pharmaceuticals, agricultural products, computers, software, and industrial inputs to financial services, healthcare, and the high-tech industry, we draw on a deep reservoir of knowledge about the operational, marketing, economic and competitive issues relevant to these cases, along with our tested trial experience.
Lieff Cabraser’s Antitrust Cases