Antitrust & Unfair Competition
Sedgwick’s antitrust and unfair competition lawyers represent regional, national and international companies in actions brought under federal law (e.g., Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act, the Clayton Act, the Robinson-Patman Act and RICO claims) and state antitrust and unfair competition laws (e.g., California’s Cartwright Act, Unfair Practices Act and Unfair Competition Law). Our domestic and international clients represent a variety of industries, including pharmaceutical, chemical, food ingredient, consumer product, energy, manufacturing, construction and insurance.
Our antitrust attorneys are seasoned trial lawyers with substantial experience in class actions, multidistrict litigation and other multiclaimant proceedings. We have tried antitrust cases to verdict and have extensive antitrust appellate work, including appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court.
We also provide counsel on such diverse issues as category management programs, seller-buyer communications during divestiture of product lines, programs for policing distribution chains, the design of compliant volume discounts, advertising allowance programs, and procedures for documenting special pricing to meet competition. We examine pricing practices, distribution agreements and other processes to identify potential risk areas and propose alternative strategies. Our attorneys also examine proposed transactions for antitrust compliance and assist clients in responding to government inquiries, such as dumping allegations.
Sedgwick’s antitrust practice is part of the firm’s Commercial Practices Group, an interdisciplinary team that also encompasses members of the firm’s bankruptcy, business litigation, corporate and real estate practices. Our antitrust attorneys are able to call upon the collective expertise developed within the Commercial Practices Group to provide clients multifaceted representation.
Monopolization and Attempted Monopolization
We represent clients in federal and state proceedings involving allegations of monopolization and attempted monopolization, as well as unfair competition, arising from exclusive dealing, predatory pricing, denial of access and other exclusionary actions.
Restraint of Trade
We defend international, national and regional companies against claims of price fixing, bid-rigging, tying arrangements and other alleged conspiracies to restrain trade. Sedgwick has defended pharmaceutical companies against claims of price fixing resulting from settlement of patent infringement actions and allegations that patent rights were improperly obtained under the Hatch-Waxman Act. We have successfully handled claims involving alleged conspiracies of price fixing and participation in international cartels, as well as related direct and indirect purchaser class actions.
We defend clients in cases involving alleged price discrimination and violations of the Clayton Act and Robinson-Patman Act, such as manufacturers sued by authorized retailers, as well as matters involving the banking and agricultural industries. We counsel clients on Robinson-Patman compliance in relation to different chains of distribution.
MDLs/Coordinated Proceedings and Class Actions
When an antitrust matter involves multiple parties and complex procedural challenges, Sedgwick’s antitrust clients benefit from our attorneys’ substantial experience defending nationwide, large-scale, multi-action litigation. With offices throughout the country, Sedgwick attorneys have extensive, hands-on experience navigating cases relating to the federal MDL process or state court coordinated proceedings. Our attorneys have defended numerous putative and certified statewide and nationwide class actions, and scrutinize jurisdiction, venue and judicial assignment to ensure the best chance for a successful defense.
State Unfair Competition Claims
We have successfully defended cases brought under state antitrust and unfair competition law, primarily defending claims but occasionally using them offensively to achieve strategic objectives. We have a particular expertise in actions brought under California’s Cartwright Act, Unfair Practices Act and Unfair Competition Law, and have obtained dismissals at the pleadings stage, on summary judgment and after trial.
Antitrust lawsuits are often accompanied by RICO claims. We have represented institutional and individual defendants in RICO cases, including putative nationwide class actions. Our attorneys have obtained dismissal of RICO claims at the pleading stage, which have been affirmed on appeal.
We represent individuals and corporations in FTC investigations and adjudicative proceedings. Our attorneys also represent clients in antitrust criminal investigations, enforcement proceedings and criminal antitrust matters brought by the Department of Justice, state attorneys general, local government enforcers and administrative agencies.