Antitrust / Competition

It is illegal for companies to fix prices, rig bids and allocate markets in the United States. These anticompetitive practices hurt consumers and are prohibited by federal and state antitrust laws.  Bernstein Liebhard represents plaintiffs in antitrust class actions and has recovered millions of dollars for its clients and the classes we have represented.

  • $400 million recovered in an antitrust class action alleging a price-fixing conspiracy by some of the world’s largest manufactures of flexible polyurethane foam in In re Polyurethane Foam Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 2196 (N.D. Ohio).
  • $136 million recovered in In re Processed Egg Products Antitrust Litigation, No. 08-MD-2002 (E.D. Pa.), an antitrust class action alleging an near industry-wide price fixing conspiracy that included the restriction of egg production through a sham animal-welfare program that reduced the laying hen flock sizes, express agreements to coordinate molting schedules and flock reductions, and an export program that sold eggs at a loss in order to reduce domestic supplies and raise prices.
  • $19.5 million recovered for direct purchases of fresh and processed potatoes in In re Fresh and Processed Potatoes Antitrust Litigation, No. 10-MD-02186-BLW-CWD (D. Iadaho).

The firm is currently serving on the Executive Committee in In re Packaged Seafood Products Antitrust Litigation, No. 15-MD-2670-JLS (MDD) (S.D. Ca.), an action arising out of an alleged conspiracy by the largest producers of packaged seafood products in the United States to fix, raise, maintain and/or stabilize prices for packaged seafood.

The firm is also part of the litigation team in In re Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation, No. 16-CV-08637 (TMD) (N.D. Ill.), an action alleging that broker chicken producers coordinated their efforts to artificially reduce the supply of broiler chickens for sale in the United States.

Anticompetitive activity occurs when a company abuses its monopoly power or engages in conduct that prevents competition or restrains market trade in order to remain a market leader in a particular area.  Examples of anticompetitive activity include:

  • horizontal price-fixing (e., two or more competitors agree on what price to charge or pay)
  • vertical price-fixing (e., seller and buyer agree at what price product should be resold)
  • market allocation (two competitors agree not to compete in a particular area or product)
  • predatory pricing (e.,a company lowers prices below cost to drive a competitor out of business)
  • tying (e., requiring a buyer to purchase something that he or she does not want in order to buy something that he or she does want)
  • exclusive franchise agreements (e., a seller grants a buyer the exclusive right to resell a product or service)
  • territorial and customer restrictions (e., a seller grants a buyer the exclusive right to resell in a particular territory or to a particular customer).

The federal antitrust laws generally limit damages to businesses or individuals who purchased goods or services directly from the person or company that violates the antitrust laws.  Since most products and services are sold through distributors, wholesalers, or retailers, most claims under the federal antitrust laws are brought by businesses, not consumers or other end-users.  Many state antitrust laws, however, allow consumers and other end-users to recover damages resulting from anticompetitive conduct, even if they did not purchase goods or services directly from the person or company that violates the antitrust laws.

The attorneys at Bernstein Liebhard LLP have decades of experience litigating antitrust class actions on behalf of plaintiffs injured by anticompetitive practices. If you believe you have been injured as a result of, or have information about, an antitrust violation, please contact Stephanie M. Beige or info@bernlieb.com.