Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law

Competition: Spring 2014 Vol. 23, No. 1


LANDMARK CIVIL PRICE-FIXING VERDICTS OF 2013: LESSONS FROM THE VITAMIN C AND URETHANES TRIALS With Trial Counsel and Observers William A. Isaacson, Daniel S. Mason, Joseph Goldberg, and Michael Tubach

Moderated by Heather Tewksbury*


The Spring of 2013 witnessed blockbuster verdicts in two civil price-fixing cases. Although these cases share the distinction of resulting in significant verdicts for civil antitrust enforcement, their respective paths to those verdicts could not be more different. The first case hails from an alleged price fixing conspiracy formed in China, and represents many "firsts" for the U.S. judicial system. In re Vitamin C Antitrust Litigation resulted in the first civil price-fixing verdict against Chinese companies in the United States; the first known time that the foreign compulsion defense was presented to a jury at trial; and the first time a former Chinese government representative testified at trial in a U.S. court. On the other end of the spectrum is our second case, In re Urethane Antitrust Litigation, an alleged price-fixing conspiracy born here on U.S. soil. It is significant not only because it represents the largest verdict for a Sherman Act violation last year, but also because the plaintiffs obtained that verdict even without the benefit of criminal indictments or plea agreements. Both cases raise important issues that will impact the continued development of private antitrust enforcement against price-fixing conspiracies for years to come.


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