Notable Representations, Key Contacts
Our attorneys regularly litigate antitrust counterclaims and misuse defenses in patent cases and other civil litigation, as well as formulating favorable settlements of intellectual property litigation.
Our lawyers are experienced project managers who conduct large-scale, complex litigation — and win.
- the depth and resources to proactively manage the substantial risks, time, and costs associated with litigation
- the experience to efficiently conduct discovery
- a sophisticated platform for effective case management
Price-Fixing, Cartels & Related Investigations
We conduct large-scale, complex litigation — and win
Weil won two victories on behalf of CBS Interactive Inc. (CBSI) in 2015 in a right of publicity case in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The plaintiff alleged that CBSI had used student-athletes’ names, images, and likenesses, without their consent, in connection with its provision of services related to NCAA member institutions’ sale of photographs of student-athletes through the schools’ official athletic websites. The plaintiff had requested certification of a nationwide class of potentially more than a million current and former student-athletes and was seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in minimum statutory damages under California’s right of publicity statute. First, on July 30, 2015, after significant fact and expert-related class discovery, and class certification briefing and argument, the court denied the plaintiff’s motion for class certification. Notably, the court rejected the plaintiff’s attempt to apply California law to a nationwide class in this case, concluding that there were material differences in states’ right of publicity laws, and that other states’ interests in applying their own right of publicity laws outweighed California’s interest. The case then continued as a single-plaintiff action, and CBSI moved for summary judgment; on August 14, 2015, the court granted CBSI’s motion in its entirety, ruling that plaintiff expressly consented to the challenged use of his likeness, and therefore, could not satisfy an essential element of a right of publicity claim.
Weil secured a complete defense jury verdict for C&S Wholesale Grocers following nine days of trial in April 2018 in an antitrust class action in Minnesota federal court. The jury’s verdict erased several hundred million dollars sought in treble damages, plus attorneys’ fees, and brought nine years of litigation to a close. Plaintiffs alleged that New England-based C&S and Supervalu, another leading wholesaler based in the Midwest, entered into a conspiracy to allocate the New England and Midwest territories between themselves for a period of five years, resulting in inflated grocery prices. The other defendant settled before trial. Weil partners David Lender and Eric Hochstadt, who led the trial team, were recognized as The American Lawyer’s “Litigators of the Week,” in which the publication characterized the rare, high-stakes case as “An Antitrust Unicorn – With $800M on the Line.” The team also won Global Competition Review’s “Litigators of the Week” accolades for its role in securing this win. In 2020, following oral argument, the Eighth Circuit affirmed the verdict dismissing all claims, and the U.S. Supreme Court subsequently denied plaintiffs’ motion for a writ of certiorari.
Weil secured a victory for Hilton Worldwide in a significant antitrust lawsuit targeting the hospitality industry. In this federal multidistrict antitrust class action consolidating more than thirty lawsuits filed across the country, Plaintiffs sought billions of dollars in damages and attorneys’ fees, alleging a 10-year price-fixing conspiracy by the major hotel chains and online travel agents to eliminate online price competition. Weil first secured a stay of all discovery and then a complete dismissal for Hilton under Rule 12, and as a result of our arguments, Hilton was dropped as a defendant entirely when Plaintiffs attempted to replead.
Weil represents Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation in In re Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation, which is one of the largest antitrust cases in the country. The case involves more than 70 complaints filed by three purported nationwide classes and 160 Direct Action Plaintiffs. Plaintiffs allege that 19 poultry producers and a benchmarking organization conspired to restrict the supply of broiler chickens in violation of federal antitrust laws and state antitrust, consumer protection, RICO and unjust enrichment laws and collectively seek damages likely to exceed $10 billion. After several years of litigation, Weil secured highly favorable settlements with the three purported classes.
Weil also represents Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation in In re Broiler Chicken Grower Litigation, which consolidates class action complaints filed on behalf of purported classes of broiler growers. Plaintiffs in these cases allege that PPC and other poultry integrators illegally conspired to suppress prices paid to broiler growers nationwide in violation of the Sherman Act and the Packers and Stockyards Act. The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated a series of “copycat” class action complaints from California, Colorado, and Kansas into MDL proceedings in Oklahoma. Discovery is ongoing, and the current case management order contemplates a close of fact discovery in February 2022.
Weil also represents Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation in Jien v. Perdue Farms, Inc., a wage fixing and “no poach” case filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland on August 30, 2019. Plaintiffs seek to represent a nationwide class of employees at poultry processing plants from 2009 to the present. After two years of litigation, Weil obtained a highly favorable icebreaker settlement with the purported class.
Weil achieved two separate victories as lead counsel on behalf of Providence Equity Partners and THL. Plaintiff-shareholders asserted broad ranging, industry-wide antitrust conspiracy claims against the companies, and other private equity firms, in connection with 17 multi-billion dollar private equity "club" leveraged buyouts of public companies in auction and proprietary sales processes from 2003–2007. Plaintiffs sought injunctive relief on behalf of shareholders in every publicly traded company in the U.S. and treble damages for shareholders who sold their shares to defendants in specific multi-billion dollar club deals. The district court granted both clients individual summary judgment motions and ruled that the evidence failed to show that either firm had any connection to any alleged conspiracy. The defendants remaining in the case later settled for almost $600 million.
Weil has served as lead counsel to Simon & Schuster, Inc. (S&S) in a series of investigations and private litigations regarding an alleged conspiracy in violation of federal antitrust laws concerning electronic books (e-books) pricing. Plaintiffs include the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, the Attorneys General of 49 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories, e-book retailers, a putative nationwide class of e-book consumers, and a number of individual plaintiffs.
Most recently, on July 17, 2017, in two separate opinions, the Second Circuit issued per curiam decisions affirming the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York’s decisions granting summary judgment for Simon & Schuster, Inc. and four other e-book publishers, against Abbey House Media, Inc., and Lavoho, L.L.C. Abbey House (d/b/a BooksOnBoard) and Lavoho (the successor in interest to Diesel Ebooks) were two independent e-book retailers that alleged that their businesses failed as a result of a conspiracy between the five e-book publishers and a retailer to fix the prices of e-books. The Second Circuit held that it “agree[s] with the district court’s determination that the record permits no genuine dispute as to any material fact underlying the conclusion that, as a matter of law, [Abbey House and Lavoho] suffered no antitrust injury caused by” the alleged conspiracy. The Second Circuit also adopted the district court’s “thorough and well-reasoned written decision” in each case. Weil prepared the winning summary judgment papers for the defense group.
Weil Named Antitrust Firm of the Year
Benchmark Litigation U.S. Awards 2017
Weil Named Competition Practice Group of the Year
Weil Named Antitrust Firm of the Year
Legal Media Group’s Life Sciences Awards 2018
Co-Head of the Antitrust/Competition practice Steven Newborn and Antitrust partners Steven Bernstein and Jeffrey Perry named “Trailblazers” by The National Law Journal in 2015, 2016 and 2017, respectively
Weil’s Antitrust Practice Ranked as among the “Global Elite”
GCR 100 2018
Weil is “widely recognized for its strong antitrust team” and has a “deep bench of antitrust experts.”
Chambers USA 2018