Antitrust & Intellectual Property

Knorr and Wabtec Employee Illegal No-Poach Agreements

employees

On April 3, 2018, the United States Department of Justice filed a complaint against Knorr-Bremse AG and Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corporation (Wabtec), two of the world’s largest rail equipment suppliers, regarding unlawful agreements between them not to compete for each other’s employees. The complaint also names rail equipment maker Faiveley Transport S.A., regarding misconduct Faiveley engaged in prior to being acquired by Wabtec in November 2016.

The DOJ challenges three specific agreements. First, the DOJ alleges that, beginning no later than 2009, Knorr and Wabtec agreed not to recruit or hire without prior approval employees of each other. For instance, in a letter dated January 28, 2009, a director of Knorr Brake Company wrote to a senior executive at Wabtec’s headquarters, “[Y]ou and I both agreed that our practice of not targeting each other’s personnel is a prudent cause for both companies. As you so accurately put it, ‘we compete in the market.’”

Second, the DOJ alleges that Knorr Brake Company (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Knorr) and Faiveley Transport North America, agreed not to recruit each other’s employees without prior authorization from the other company. For example, in October 2011, a senior executive at Knorr Brake Company explained that he had a discussion with an executive at Faiveley’s U.S. subsidiary that “resulted in an agreement between us that we do not poach each other’s employees. We agreed to talk if there was one trying to get a job[.]”

Third, beginning no later than 2014, Wabtec Passenger Transit, a U.S. business unit of Wabtec, and Faiveley Transport North America, agreed not to hire each other’s employees without prior approval. For example, in an e-mail to his colleagues, a Wabtec Passenger Transit executive explained that a candidate for employment “is a good guy, but I don’t want to violate my own agreement with [Faiveley Transport North America].”

The DOJ also filed a stipulated final judgment in which the Defendants agreed not to engage in this misconduct further. However, there was no relief obtained for those injured by the misconduct.

Contact Lieff Cabraser

If you worked for Knorr-Bremse AG, Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corporation, or Faiveley Tranport S.A., please contact a lawyer at Lieff Cabraser today for a free, confidential review of your potential case.

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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No-Poach Agreements and Employee Antitrust Lawsuits

No-Poach Agreements Violate Fundamental Employee Rights

In 2011, Lieff Cabraser filed a groundbreaking class action against seven of the world’s largest tech companies, including Apple, Google, and Intel, alleging a conspiracy to suppress employee pay through “no-poach” agreements. In 2015, that case resolved for settlements totaling $435 million, the largest resolution in history of antitrust claims in an employment setting.

The Daily Journal described the case as the “most significant antitrust employment case in recent history,” adding that it “has been widely recognized as a legal and public policy breakthrough.”

Unfortunately, the practice of companies secretly agreeing to avoid competing among themselves for employees continues, and continues to artificially suppress employee pay and career mobility and advancement.

Lieff Cabraser continues to investigate and bring cases on behalf of employees whose compensation and mobility have been suppressed as a result of non-compete agreements between employers. For instance, Lieff Cabraser currently represents a doctor in a case against Duke University and Duke University Health System, alleging an unlawful no-hire agreement with the University of North Carolina.

U.S. Department of Justice Announces Plans to Bring Criminal Actions Against No-Poach Violators

In October 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission issued Antitrust Guidance for Human Resource Professionals. In it, the DOJ and FTC announced that they intend to proceed criminally against naked wage-fixing or no-poaching agreements.

In 2018, numerous reports surfaced indicating that the DOJ is preparing to bring criminal cases against employers who enter into wage-fixing or no-poaching agreements.

Contact an Employee Rights Lawyer at Lieff Cabraser

The antitrust and employment lawyers at Lieff Cabraser work vigorously to defend employee rights and fight these abuses. If you or someone you know suspect they have had their opportunities or pay suppressed as a result of no-poach or other agreements, we urge you to contact Antitrust Practice Group partner Dean M. Harvey today for a free, confidential, and no-obligation review of your case. The information you provide will help us hold companies accountable for violations of antitrust and employee protection laws.


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Restasis Antitrust Litigation

Eyedrops

In Re: Restasis Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 2819 (pending).

Lieff Cabraser serves as interim co-lead counsel for indirect purchasers (i.e., consumers) of Restasis, a blockbuster drug used to treat dry-eye disease, in a case alleging a broad-based and ongoing anticompetitive scheme by pharmaceutical giant Allergan, Inc. (“Allergan”). The alleged scheme’s goal was and is to maintain Allergan’s monopoly. Lieff Cabraser, together with co-counsel, filed the first two class actions on behalf of indirect purchasers.

The complaints allege that Allergan (1) fraudulently procured patents it knew were invalid, (2) caused those invalid patents to be listed in the FDA’s “Orange Book” as being applicable to Restasis, (3) used the improper Orange Book listings as grounds for filing baseless patent-infringement litigation, (4) abused the FDA’s “citizen petition” process, and (5) used a “sham” transfer of the invalid patents to the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe to obtain tribal sovereign immunity and protect the patents from challenge. This alleged scheme of government petitioning delayed competition from generic equivalents to Restasis that would have been just as safe and cheaper for consumers.

The complaints assert claims under federal and state law, including the Sherman Act and the statutory and common law of numerous states. Several similar lawsuits have since been filed, and the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has granted Lieff Cabraser’s motion to centralize all cases for pretrial proceedings in the Eastern District of New York before the Hon. Nina Gershon.

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

employees

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) and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees District Council 37 Health & Security Plan 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.

Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint in December 2017. Discovery is ongoing.

Carolinas HealthCare System Antitrust

Lieff Cabraser and co-counsel represent consumer plaintiffs in litigation against Carolinas 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

The case against CHS is proceeding.

If you live and work in or around Charlotte, North Carolina, or have CHS in your network, 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. The Court has already denied a motion to dismiss by CHS. Now is an excellent time to consider joining the lawsuit.

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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