Harrison (Buzz) Frahn
In October 2016, two of brewing’s biggest names headlined a $107 billion merger, attracting the attention of the DOJ and zythophiles, aka beer lovers, alike. By the time the merger cleared DOJ review, Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (“ABI”) had combined with SABMiller, plc (“SAB”), divesting SAB’s U.S.-based interest in the process. See DeHoog v. Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV, 899 F.3d 758, 761–62 (9th Cir. 2018).
Ian L. Papendick
Jeanifer E. Parsigian
Winston & Strawn LLP
In NorthBay Healthcare Group v. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., the Northern District of California recently dismissed without leave to amend the plaintiffs’ antitrust claims based on monopolization and conspiracy-to-monopolize theories under Section 2 of the Sherman Act. No. 17-cv-05005-LB, 2018 WL 4096399 at *1 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 28, 2018). The dismissal was with prejudice because the Court had dismissed with leave to amend twice before, and thus any further amendment would be futile given the plaintiffs’ repeated failure to allege sufficient facts to state a plausible claim. Id. The Court expressly noted that the plaintiffs failed to heed the Court’s previous warnings to enhance their conclusory allegations. Id. at *1.
Robert E. Connolly
Law Office of Robert E. Connolly
On October 11, 2018, Judge Michael Baylson of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania denied a renewed summary judgment motion by a defendant in the wallboard class action price fixing litigation. The defendant, PABCO, moved the Court to reconsider and reverse an earlier denial of summary judgment based on the recent Third Circuit opinion in Valspar Corporation v. DuPont, 873 F. 3d 185 (3d Cir. 2017). Valspar affirmed a district court ruling that dismissed a price fixing complaint on the grounds that it merely alleged parallel conduct (conscious parallelism). Judge Baylson had previously denied PABCO’s summary judgment motion in a published opinion. In re: Domestic Drywall Antitrust Litig., 163 F. Supp. 3d 175 (E.D. Pa. 2016). Judge Baylson reconsidered but declined to reverse his early ruling denying PABCO’s summary judgment motion. Valspar did not cause Judge Baylson to change his ruling because unlike Valspar’s case, “there was evidence of ‘traditional’ conspiratorial evidence, specifically as to PABCO.” Judge Baylson’s most recent decision is Ashton Woods Holdings LLC v. USG Corp. (In re Domestic Drywall Antitrust Litigation), 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174981 (E.D. Pa. October 11, 2018).
Legal Intern, Federal Trade Commission
The Securities and Exchange Commission instituted cease and desist proceedings against Voya Financial Advisors, citing violations of the Safeguards Rule, and the Identity Theft Red Flags Rule. The proceedings constitute the first SEC enforcement action charging violations of the Identity Theft Red Flags Rule.
View an interview with Bruce L. Simon, in conversation with David Faigman, at U.C. Hastings College of the Law on May 23, 2018.
UC Hastings College of the Law The Executive Committee of the Antitrust, UCL & Privacy Section of the California Lawyers Association is thrilled to announce its selection of Bruce L. Simon of Pearson, Simon & Warshaw, LLP as the 2018 “Antitrust Lawyer of the Year.” For those who practice in the field of antitrust law, Bruce needs no introduction. He is one of the leading antitrust lawyers not just in California, but nationwide. He has been appointed lead counsel for plaintiffs in many antitrust cases with national and global impact, and has secured billions of dollars in settlements for businesses and consumers.
One of his particularly notable cases is In Re: Credit Default Swaps Antitrust Litigation, a case alleging a conspiracy among the world’s largest banks to maintain opacity of the credit default swaps market as a means of maintaining supra-competitive prices of bid/ask spreads. As Co-Lead Counsel, Bruce was instrumental in achieving a landmark settlement amounting to $1.86 billion. It is one of the largest civil antitrust settlements in history.
He was also one of the lead trial attorneys in the In Re: TFT-LCD Flat Panel Antitrust Litigation. In recent times, this is one of a handful of antitrust class actions that has gone to a jury verdict in favor of the plaintiffs. The case was tried right here in the N.D. Cal, and resulted in a verdict of $87 million before trebling. Total settlements in the case amounted to $473 million.
Bruce has just been appointed co-lead counsel in In Re: German Automotive Manufacturers Antitrust Litigation. He represents indirect purchasers who allege collusion among the largest German car companies to stifle innovation, restrict supply and fix prices for their vehicles.
Bruce’s achievements are not limited to the courtroom. He is the former Chair of this Section and remains an advisor and active contributor. After Co-Chairing an ABA task force to increase participation of the plaintiffs’ bar in the Antitrust Section, and leading the Global Private Litigation Committee, Bruce is now on the Council. Bruce is also a past Chair of the Board of Directors of his alma mater, U.C. Hastings College of the Law, and served on the Board for 12 years.
Upon learning of his selection, Bruce stated, “I am so honored and humbled to be chosen. It is particularly poignant given the many friendships I have made during my service with the Section. “Antitrust Lawyer of the Year” is built on the high quality and talent of all who participate in the Section, and in particular, those who have received the award in the past. Being associated with all of you has taught me so much and has always kept me on my toes.”
You will hear much more about Bruce at the “Antitrust Lawyer of the Year” Dinner and Ceremony on November 8, 2018, at the Julia Morgan Ballroom in the Merchant Exchange Building in San Francisco. The Dinner and Ceremony will cap off what is shaping up to be a fantastic 28th Annual Golden State Institute, the preeminent competition law conference in the Western United States. Mark your calendars now!
Finally, I would like to thank everyone who took the time to submit nominations for the Antitrust Lawyer of the Year. The Executive Committee received many excellent nominations which made the decision all the more difficult. The process was a wonderful reminder of the bounty of accomplished antitrust lawyers who practice in California. On a personal note, I am particularly delighted the Executive Committee chose to bestow this honor on a fellow member of the plaintiffs’ bar. I know Bruce not just an eminently qualified antitrust lawyer with a noteworthy career, but as one heck of a nice guy!
Please join us in congratulating Bruce L. Simon on his selection as the 2018 “Antitrust Lawyer of the Year!”
Jill M. Manning
Chair, Executive Committee
Antitrust, UCL & Privacy Section
Cheryl Lee Johnson, Editor-in-Chief
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Antitrust, UCL and Privacy Competition Section
California Lawyers Association
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