Antitrust & Intellectual Property

Mercedes Benz, BMW, Porsche, Volkswagen & Audi Antitrust Collusion Investigation

cars in crowded traffic

Lieff Cabraser is investigating reports from German media as well as The New York Times, Reuters, The Verge, and the Chicago Tribune, among other news outlets, that Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen as well as VW’s Audi and Porsche brands may have colluded for decades on vehicle technology. The stories reference internal manufacturer documents from VW and Daimler that appear to indicate the five manufacturers met with each other over 1,000 times in order to avoid competing with each other to improve the quality of their vehicles. The alleged cartel extended to non-diesel as well as diesel cars.

The broad conspiracy originally reported by Der Spiegel in Germany dating back as far as the 1990s included dozens of working committees that discussed how to limit competition on new technologies, including emissions systems. As a result, consumers basically received less car for their money than they otherwise would have. If true, this was a violation of the antitrust laws and car buyers are entitled to compensation.

Contact an Antitrust Lawyer at Lieff Cabraser About Your Rights

If you are a Mercedes Benz, BMW, VW or Audi owner or lessee and are interested in learning more about the case, please call Lieff Cabraser antitrust partner Brendan Glackin today at 1 800 541-7358 or use the contact form below.


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Barclays Bank “No-Poach” Antitrust Violations Investigation

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Lieff Cabraser is investigating complaints that multinational British bank giant Barclays may have violated U.S. antitrust laws by promising not to hire employees from U.S. bank JPMorgan. The complaints arose in the wake of a series of high-level executive departures from JPMorgan to Barclays starting in 2015.

The U.S. Department of Justice is also reportedly looking into the situation, and has made document requests to Barclays to see if it made agreements with JPMorgan to avoid hiring additional JPMorgan bankers. Such “no-poach” agreements, as they are called, violate U.S. antitrust law.

Current and former employees of JPMorgan or Barclays who would like to learn more about this investigation or report their experiences may contact us online by using the form below. Or you can contact a Lieff Cabraser antitrust attorney at (800) 541-7358. All information will be kept strictly confidential as provided by law.

Lieff Cabraser has a strong tradition of fighting for employee rights and to maintain competition in the marketplace. Competition in the labor market results in better salaries, enhanced career opportunities for employees, and better products for consumers.


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Generic Drugs Pricing Antitrust

Generic Drugs Pricing Antitrust

Issue: Alleged nationwide price-fixing conspiracies

Beginning in February 2015, Lieff Cabraser conducted an extensive investigation into dramatic price increases of certain generic drugs. Lieff Cabraser worked alongside economists and industry experts and interviewed industry participants to evaluate possible misconduct.

In December of 2016, Lieff Cabraser, with co-counsel, filed the first case alleging price-fixing of levothyroxine, the primary treatment for hypothyroidism, among the most widely prescribed drugs in the world. Lieff Cabraser also played a significant role in similar litigation over the drug propranolol in the Southern District of New York, and the drug clomipramine in the District of New Jersey. These cases, and other similar cases, were consolidated and transferred to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania as In Re: Generic Pharmaceuticals Pricing Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 2724.

On May 19, 2017, Elizabeth Cabraser and Lieff Cabraser were named to the End-Payer Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee.

Lovenox

Law defined

Nashville General v. Momenta Pharmaceuticals, et al., No. 3:15-cv-01100 (M.D. Tenn.)

Lieff Cabraser represents Nashville General Hospital (the Hospital Authority of Metropolitan Government of Nashville) in a proposed class-action antitrust 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.

Lovenox, developed by Sanofi-Aventis, is a highly profitable drug with annual sales of more than $1 billion. The drug entered the market in 1995 and its patent was invalidated by the federal government in 2008, making generic production possible.

The complaint alleges 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 September 2016, U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara Holmes issued a Report and Recommendation that defendants’ motions to dismiss and to transfer venue be denied in their entirety.

Carolina HealthCare System Antitrust

Lieff Cabraser and co-counsel represent consumer plaintiffs in litigation against Carolina HealthCare System (CHS) alleging the hospital giant is abusing its market power to prevent insurers from offering patients financial incentives to use lower cost or higher quality services offered by competitors.

How CHS’s Anticompetitive Practices Harm Group Plans and Insureds

The U.S. Department of Justice has investigated CHS’s practices and has filed a separate lawsuit against CHS/The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority to stop these violations of the antitrust laws. The suit similarly alleges that CHS’s illegal practices have allowed it to reduce competition and keep its reimbursement rates to insurers higher than they otherwise would be, causing patients to pay significantly more for insurance as a result.

Contact an Antitrust Lawyer

If you believe your insurance may be too expensive, antitrust lawyers at Lieff Cabraser would welcome a chance to talk with you about your potential case. We are particularly concerned about the impact on individuals and mid-size businesses with group healthcare plans through a major insurer.

If you live and work in or around Charlotte, North Carolina, and have insurance through an employer-sponsored group plan, you may have paid too much for insurance and may have had fewer healthcare options than you should have. Or, if you are a mid- or large-sized business of 51 or more employees you may also have paid too much.

There is no cost or obligation for our review of your potential antitrust lawsuit against CHS. The information you provide will be held in the strictest confidence and will help us hold CHS accountable to businesses like yours and their employees. Conduct like this contributes to the skyrocketing costs for medicine that concern us all.

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Patent Law

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Protecting the Rights of Innovators and Creators

Patent Law FAQ Patent Law FAQLieff Cabraser’s intellectual property lawyers represent inventors, startups, and businesses in intellectual property disputes against some of the world’s largest technology companies. Our IP attorneys handle all phases of IP lawsuits, from pre-litigation licensing strategy to appeals before the United States Courts of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Read answers to common IP and patent law questions.

Videos: Topics in Patent Law

What are the first steps to take in enforcing a patent?

Contact Lieff Cabraser

Please use the form below to contact an antitrust and intellectual property attorney at Lieff Cabraser regarding your patent law case.

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Aluminum Sulfate

pure clean water

Practice Area: Antitrust & Intellectual Property
Allegation: Price-fixing conspiracy

City of Fresno v. General Chemical Corp. et al., No. 2:16-cv-00527 (D.N.J.)

Lieff Cabraser serves as counsel for the City of Fresno in a proposed class action against Chemtrade Logistics Inc. and its affiliates alleging the company colluded with competitors to raise and fix the price of aluminum sulfate (also known as alum), a chemical used to purify water.

Frank A. Reichl, the former general manager of water chemicals at General Chemical Corp., which was bought by Chemtrade in 2014, pled guilty in a U.S. Department of Justice investigation of a price-fixing conspiracy, which prosecutors say took place from 1997 to 2010. Chemtrade admitted to investors that it had obtained amnesty in a deal with the DOJ, something it could only get after admitting its guilt.

Fresno’s complaint notes that Reichl’s indictment evidences numerous opportunities for the defendants to have communicated and conspired in the case, as those entities met regularly to discuss their business. The complaint further alleges that the defendants and their co-conspirators entered in ‘not-to-compete’ agreements, allocated customers, and submitted artificially inflated bids.

A 2013 valuation indicated that the chemical water treatment business had grown to a $5.7 billion industry. As noted in the complaint, the Justice Department has indicated that there are potentially hundreds of municipalities and pulp and paper companies that would have been adversely affected over the 13-year course of the price conspiracy.

Contact Lieff Cabraser

Federal and state antitrust laws are designed to protect the economy and to promote competition among businesses by prohibiting price-fixing and other forms of anticompetitive conduct.

Please feel free to use the form below to contact an attorney at Lieff Cabraser concerning the aluminum sulfate litigation. We welcome inquiries from public entities nationwide. Across the country, cities, counties, school districts and other public entities have been overcharged in the tens of millions of dollars, if not more.

We will review your claim without fee or obligation. Lieff Cabraser agrees to protect your name and all confidential information you submit against disclosure, publication or unauthorized use to the full extent under the law.

Please note that completion of this form cannot contractually obligate plaintiffs’ attorneys to represent you. We can only serve as your attorney if you and we both agree, in writing, that we will serve as your counsel.

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Duke/UNC “No-Hire” Agreement

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Issue: agreement to suppress compensation of medical professionals and staff

Lieff Cabraser represents Danielle M. Seaman, M.D., in a class action lawsuit against Duke University, Duke University Health System, and Dr. William L. Roper, M.D., M.P.H., in his official capacity as Dean and Vice-Chancellor of Medical Affairs for University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine and Chief Executive Officer of the University of North Carolina Health Care System.

The complaint charges that the defendants entered into an express, secret agreement not to hire or attempt to hire certain medical facility faculty and staff that they each employed. The lawsuit seeks to recover damages and obtain injunctive relief, including treble damages, for defendants’ alleged violations of federal and North Carolina antitrust law.

On February 12, 2016, U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Eagles denied defendants’ motions to dismiss the case on a variety of grounds, including a denial of state action immunity to antitrust liability. The Court rejected Defendants’ argument that they should be exempt from the nation’s antitrust laws because Dr. Roper, an alleged co-conspirator, is an administrator of a state university and health system. You can click here to read a copy of the Order.

Defendants sought permission to appeal from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. On June 3, 2016, a unanimous three-judge panel denied the request.

Contact us

If you are a medical faculty or staff worker and you think you may have been affected by the conduct described above, we welcome the opportunity to provide you information on your legal rights. We will review your claim for free and with no obligation on your part.

Please contact us using the form below or call us toll-free at 1 800 541-7358 and ask to speak to attorney Dean Harvey.

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Contact Lens Price Fixing

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Issue: Illegal minimum resale price maintenance agreements

Lieff Cabraser represents consumers that purchased disposable contact lenses manufactured by Alcon Laboratories, Inc., Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc., Bausch + Lomb, and Cooper Vision, Inc.

The complaint challenges under federal and state antitrust laws the use by contact lens manufacturers of minimum resale price maintenance agreements with independent eye care professionals (including optometrists and ophthalmologists) and wholesalers. These agreements, the complaint alleges, operate to raise retail prices and eliminate price competition and discounts on contact lenses, including from “big box” retail stores, discount buying clubs, and online retailers.

As a result, the consumers across America have paid artificially inflated prices for contact lenses.

Contact Lieff Cabraser

If you purchased contact lenses in California, and are upset about the cost of the contact lens, we welcome the opportunity to provide you information on your legal rights as a consumer to file a price-fixing claim under California antitrust laws against the contact lens manufacturer. We will review your claim for free and with no obligation on your part.

Please contact us using the form below or call us toll-free at 1 800 541-7358 and ask to speak to attorney Dean Harvey.

We will review your claim without fee or obligation. Lieff Cabraser agrees to protect your name and all confidential information you submit against disclosure, publication or unauthorized use to the full extent under the law.

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Universal Music Group

Earbuds

Result: $11.5 million settlement
Year: 2016

James v. UMG Recordings; Zombie v. UMG Records

Lieff Cabraser and co-counsel represented music recording artists in a proposed class action against Universal Music Group. Plaintiffs alleged that Universal failed to pay the recording artists full royalty income earned from customers’ purchases of digitally downloaded music from vendors such as Apple iTunes.

The complaint alleged that Universal licensed plaintiffs’ music to digital download providers, but in its accounting of the royalties plaintiffs earned, treated such licenses as “records sold” because royalty rate for “records sold” is lower than the royalty rate for licenses. Plaintiffs legal claims included breach of contract and violation of California unfair competition laws. In November 2011 the court denied defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ unfair competition law claims.

In April of 2016, Judge Susan Illston of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted final approval to an $11.5 million settlement of the action.