September 30, 2022
On September 29, 2022, Weil won two significant victories for longtime client Simon & Schuster (S&S), a subsidiary of Paramount Global (f/k/a/ ViacomCBS), when the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted the dismissal of all claims in two separate nationwide, industry-wide antitrust class actions.
In one case, brought against S&S, four other major book publishers, and Amazon, plaintiffs accuse Amazon of scheming with the publishers on price restraints that caused customers to overpay for digital books if they didn’t shop on Amazon’s website. In the other case, plaintiffs allege that the book publishers conspired with Amazon to sell print books to Amazon at discriminatory prices not offered to independent booksellers. In both cases, plaintiffs have alleged violations of Sections 1 & 2 of the Sherman Act, and in the print books case, plaintiff also brought claims for price discrimination under the Robinson-Patman Act.
The publishers and Amazon filed motions to dismiss both cases. In August of 2022, U.S. Magistrate Judge Valerie Figueredo recommended that the motions to dismiss the two cases be granted in full, on many different grounds, finding that the complaints fail to plausibly allege any unlawful conspiracies under the Sherman Act or any unlawful price discrimination under the Robinson-Patman Act. On September 29, 2022, U.S. District Judge Gregory H. Woods adopted both of the Magistrate Judge’s reports and recommendations in full, ordering that both cases be dismissed. Weil led the briefing on behalf of all defendants in the print books case.
The Weil team was led by Complex Commercial Litigation partner Yehudah Buchweitz, who argued the motion to dismiss in the print books case, and Antitrust partner Jeff White, and included counsel Lisa Pieters and associates Robert Taylor, Krystel Delauney, Josef Trachtenberg, Nicole Booth, Christina Swiatowy, and Elise Simon.