August 03, 2018
Weil Litigation partner Eric Hochstadt has been named one of Law360’s 2018 “Rising Stars” for Class Actions in recognition of his work representing plaintiffs and defendants in significant and high-stakes cases.
Law360’s profile highlighted Mr. Hochstadt’s work representing C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc. in the MDL, In re: Wholesale Grocery Products Antitrust Litigation. As co-lead trial counsel, Mr. Hochstadt secured a complete defense jury verdict for C&S in a multi-hundred million dollar antitrust class action alleging that C&S and a competitor, Supervalu entered into a conspiracy to allocate certain geographic markets in violation of the Sherman Act. Mr. Hochstadt noted that "We were able to show with expert evidence that prices actually went down for these grocers, and their theory was that prices would have been even lower if C&S had been competing more for their business.”
With regard to why he became interested in class action litigation, Mr. Hochstadt explained that one of his first cases was representing Mastercard, Inc. in an antitrust class action over its currency conversion rates. He was hooked, and that’s where he “learned about it on the job,” he said. “I thought it was fascinating because Rule 23, which is the federal rule that covers class action, cuts across every area, so once you learn it for an antitrust class action, you can learn it for consumer class actions and the like.”
When asked about his proudest moment as an attorney, Mr. Hochstadt recalled representing a class of local television studios in an antitrust suit against SESAC, Meredith Corporation, et al. v. SESAC LLC, which accused the performance rights organization of artificially inflating prices for stations to license music. Mr. Hochstadt served as a lead attorney in successfully opposing summary judgment, thus ensuring that plaintiffs would get to a jury trial, and subsequently entered into a very favorable industry-wide class action settlement that provided $42.5 million in refunds and placed various restrictions on SESAC's dealings with local television stations over a 20-year period. “Getting that kind of relief in a situation where the government had looked at, but decided not to bring a case... was incredibly challenging and gratifying. To get that kind of monetary relief in terms of damages and going forward conduct relief — that's remarkable,” he said.
A team of Law360 editors selected the 2018 Rising Stars winners after reviewing more than 1,200 submissions. Mr. Hochstadt is among the attorneys under the age of 40 whose legal accomplishments belie their age.