Each year, the Antitrust, UCL and Privacy Section honors an Antitrust Lawyer of the Year at a dinner that follows the Golden State Institute.
The Executive Committee of the California Lawyers Association Antitrust, UCL & Privacy Section is now accepting nominations for the 2019 “Antitrust Lawyer of the Year.”
Click Here for the Nomination Form
The Award will be presented at the Dinner Ceremony immediately following the 2019 Golden State Institute to be held in November 2019 at the Julia Morgan Ballroom in San Francisco. The nomination period closes on January 29, 2019. The Executive Committee considers the following criteria when choosing the Honoree:
• High level of achievement and demonstration of excellence in the practice of antitrust law.
•Stage of career: while not a “lifetime achievement” award, the nominee typically is in the later stages of her/his career.
• Diversity: geographic location, gender, ethnicity (or other)
• Diversity in practice: plaintiffs’ side, defense side, or government.
• Contributions to the work of the Section (e.g., presenting at the GSI, writing for Competition,contributing to our seminal treatise California Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law, writing anE-Brief, or acting as a panelist on a webinar.
We look forward to your nominations to help us make this important decision for 2019.
Lee BergerChair, Executive Committee Antitrust, UCL & Privacy SectionCalifornia Lawyers Association
Tuesday, January 29, 2019, 12 noon - 1 p.m.
This program offers 1 MCLE credit. You must register in advance to participate.
Until fairly recently, no-poach and non-solicitation agreements among employers did not receive significant antitrust scrutiny. All of that changed when the DOJ alleged that several Silicon Valley companies violated the antitrust laws by using no-poach agreements, and with the issuance of the DOJ and FTC’s 2016 Guidelines emphasizing that no-poach agreements may be pursued as criminal offenses. Since then, several civil cases have been filed in in the context of franchise agreements that contain limitations on hiring employees from other franchises. This panel discussion will explore how the antitrust laws apply in the HR context, the types of agreements that pose the greatest risk, and how plaintiffs and defendants are litigating these cases.
Moderator: Jiamie Chen and David Goldstein
Speakers: Michael Tubach and Caeli Higney
Harrison (Buzz) Frahn
Michael R. Morey
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
On August 23, 2018, the California Court of Appeal, First District, affirmed the Superior Court of San Francisco City and County’s holding that the State Bar of California was not required to disclose individual-level data for applicants to the State Bar in response to several California Public Records Act (“CPRA”) requests seeking such data. Sander v. Superior Court, 237 Cal. Rptr. 3d 276 (Cal. Ct. App. 2018) (hereafter, the “Appellate Opinion”). The decision came after roughly ten years of litigation balancing the State Bar’s obligations to release applicant data to the public against the privacy interests of State Bar applicants. Although the Superior Court based its decision on five separate grounds, the Court of Appeal addressed only one of the grounds and found that the State Bar was not required to disclose the applicant data because it would have to create new records when disclosing the data to protect the applicants’ privacy, thus bringing the disclosure outside the scope of the CPRA. Id. at 280. On November 14, 2018, the California Supreme Court denied the appellants’ petition for review, cementing for now the State Bar’s lack of obligation to disclose individual-level applicant data under the CPRA.
Robert E. Connolly
Law Office of Robert E. Connolly
In the capacitor private class action litigation, U.S. District Judge James Donato agreed to certify a class of plaintiffs led by four distribution companies that purchased capacitors from mostly Asia-based electronics companies. In re Capacitors Antitrust Litigation (No. III), ase No. 17-md-02801-JD, 2018 WL 5980139 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 14, 2018). Capacitors are found in every device that runs on electricity. A complex device such as a cell phone typically has hundreds of capacitors. This civil litigation followed the Antitrust Division’s capacitor grand jury which to date has resulted in eight corporate guilty pleas for fixing the price of electrolytic capacitors sold in the United States. There are several types of capacitors. The Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs (DPPs) alleged a single conspiracy among the defendant electrolytic capacitor manufacturers and film capacitor manufacturers.
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
On November 6, 2018, Judge Lucy H. Koh of the Northern District of California granted the FTC’s motion for partial summary judgment in its ongoing litigation against Qualcomm. FTC v. Qualcomm Inc., No. 17-CV-00220-LHK, 2018 WL 5848999, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 6, 2018). While the FTC’s suit alleges that Qualcomm has harmed competition in the modem chip market in violation of § 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (“FTCA”), the government successfully sought summary judgment on only the relatively narrow question of whether certain telecommunications industry agreements governing the use of standard essential patents (“SEPs”) require Qualcomm to license such patents to competing modem chip suppliers. Id. Still, the ruling is a significant win for the FTC in the overall litigation as the wrongful refusal to license its SEPs to competitors is a key component of Qualcomm’s alleged scheme to unfairly dominate the modem chip market. See id. Moreover, the FTC’s motion inspired amicus briefs on both sides, underscoring the fact that Judge Koh’s decision is likely to have implications on SEP licensing practices far broader than the instant case. See id. at *4.
Lesley E. Weaver
Matthew S. Weiler
Bleichmar Fonti & Auld LLP
Background and Summary
Iowa Public Employees’ Ret. System v. Merrill Lynch, et al., Case No. 17-cv-6221, 2018 WL 4636993 *1-*3 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 27, 2018) (“Iowa Public Employees’”) is a class action brought by plaintiff investors who paid borrowing fees in connection with securities lending services financial firms who are the leading providers of securities lending services (the “Prime Broker Defendants”) as part of stock loan transactions. The investors allege that defendants conspired to boycott trading platforms AQS, SL-x, and Data Explorers, new market entrants whose competing technology threatened Prime Broker Defendants by offering more direct and transparent trading. Id. at *1-*3.
Elizabeth T. Castillo
Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP
On November 13, 2018, the district court in Yi v. SK Bakeries LLC et al., No. 3:18-cv-05627 (W.D. Wash.) denied Defendants Cinnabon Franchisor SPV LLC (“Cinnabon”) and SK Bakeries, LLC (“SK”)’s motions to dismiss a complaint alleging Defendants violated the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. 1, et. seq., and Washington’s Unfair Business Practices Act, RCW 19.86, et seq., by entering into a franchise agreement that included a no-hire and non-solicitation provision until July 12, 2018. See Order Denying Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss, No. 3:18-cv-05627 (ECF No. 33), Nov. 13 2018 (W.D. Wash.) (“Order”). Plaintiff, a former SK employee, filed the putative class action complaint claiming the provision required a franchisee to agree that it would “not employ or seek to employ an employee of [Cinnabon], of another franchisee, or attempt to induce such employee to cease his/her employment without prior written consent of such employee’s employer.” Order at 2. Plaintiff contends this provision was in Cinnabon’s franchise agreement with SK and in Cinnabon’s franchise agreements with other franchisees. Order at 3. Plaintiff argued the agreement prevented franchises from hiring workers from other Cinnabon franchises, thereby eliminating wage competition that could increase salaries and benefits. Id.
Jamie R. Rich and Sarah E. Barrows
Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Jan. 1, 2020, marks the effective date of the recently enacted California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), a new law that requires companies to comply with numerous requirements related to collecting and processing personal information of California consumers, employees, and other individuals. Under the CCPA, the definition of “consumer” can easily include California employees who are residents.
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
Gain authoritative understanding of California antitrust and unfair competition statutes, policies and issues with one-volume convenience. This treatise brings you up to speed on everything from horizontal combinations and vertical restraints to public enforcement of California antitrust laws and trial considerations.
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