Shook, Hardy & Bacon handles antitrust litigation and counseling in a broad range of industries, and understand the impact of antitrust regulations on a variety of business sectors. This deep industry knowledge means we can efficiently analyze antitrust issues and develop strategies that protect our clients’ interests and objectives. 

We have extensive experience representing these industries, among others:

Civil and Criminal Litigation

Our antitrust and trade regulation attorneys have successfully litigated high-profile and novel antitrust matters on behalf of a diverse client base. We have defended numerous multidistrict litigation proceedings and associated class actions, individual actions and state attorney general cases in state and federal courts nationwide. Additionally, we have extensive experience in complex price fixing, market allocation and monopolization cases; parens patriae actions; tying, distribution and exclusive-dealing matters; and cases involving licensing or association restrictions. We have also handled suits brought by private plaintiffs challenging mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures before the Federal Trade Commission (FTC); grand jury investigations; consent decree litigation; civil investigative demands, third-party subpoenas; and the filing of amicus briefs in significant antitrust cases.

Antitrust Counseling and Compliance

Shook’s Antitrust and Trade Regulation Practice recognizes the value of prevention. We focus on the development of corporate compliance statements, compliance programs and antitrust audits designed to minimize the risk of antitrust violations. Our attorneys provide advice on issues related to price discrimination and pricing; package offerings and exclusive or requirements contracts; premerger notification under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Act; antitrust exemptions; structuring of distribution systems and leasing restrictions; relationships among suppliers, dealers and customers; standard-setting and trade association activities; and joint ventures. We work to understand our clients’ business objectives and to help them accomplish those objectives in a way that minimizes or eliminates antitrust risk. 

Representative Matters

Polyurethane Foam Antitrust Litigation MDL — Shook is lead antitrust trial counsel for Leggett & Platt in approximately 40 direct purchaser class actions, indirect purchaser class actions, and opt-out individual actions in federal MDL proceedings and state court involving claims of alleged price fixing of polyurethane foam products.

Chemical and Petroleum Industry Antitrust Litigation — Shook has been involved in a host of antitrust class actions involving the chemical industry. For example, in In re Plastics Additives Antitrust Litigation (MDL 1684), Shook represented Akzo Nobel in a group of direct and indirect purchaser antitrust class actions alleging that a subsidiary and its competitors had engaged in price-fixing of certain additives used in the manufacture of PVC plastics. Shook negotiated favorable settlements in all class and individual actions. 

Additionally, we represented Bayer in MDL cases involving urethanes and polyols, DuPont in cases involving polyester staple, and Shell Oil in connection with several cases alleging an antitrust conspiracy to manipulate natural gas prices.

Hatch–Waxman and Pharmaceutical Antitrust Litigation — Shook was at the forefront in defending a major pharmaceutical company accused of a market allocation agreement in connection with the settlement of certain patent litigation involving a generic company. Shook was retained as lead trial counsel in defending 23 class actions involving both direct and indirect claims, individual opt-out actions, an investigation by the FTC, and actions by state attorneys general. After seven years of hard-fought litigation, the case was successfully resolved.

Shook acted as settlement counsel for Akzo Nobel Inc. and Organon facing antitrust monopolization claims in the In re Remeron Antitrust Litigation (D.N.J.) involving allegations of sham patent litigation and improper Orange Book listing practices in the context of the Hatch-Waxman Amendment. Shook negotiated favorable settlements with the direct purchaser class, the indirect purchaser third-party payor class, all opt-out plaintiffs, and a 50-state settlement of the parens patriae claims brought by the states’ attorneys general.

Airline Antitrust Litigation – As part of a team of law firms, we defended American Airlines in the Department of Justice’s challenge of American’s practices in four major hub airports. This litigation also entailed coordinating the defense of several private-party class actions. The private cases were later stayed pending the outcome of the government’s case. After extensive factual investigation and discovery, the federal district court and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals exonerated American’s actions. The civil cases were later dismissed.

Redbox Antitrust Litigation – We represented DVD-kiosk-rental pioneer Redbox in actions against three major studios, Universal/NBC, Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Brothers. The actions, filed under the Sherman Act, the Copyright Act, and state common law, were in response to industry action that would have barred sales to Redbox by downstream distributors and retailers. After we prevailed on a dispositive motion in the lead case, all three actions were successfully resolved through settlement. The resolution ensured that Redbox could continue to offer consumers a steady supply of new-release DVDs for rental.

Sports Antitrust Litigation –Our lawyers have litigated a host of antitrust matters relating to sports, including successful defense of charges of monopolization of sports broadcast rights, and representation of all major college conferences in defending restrictions imposed by an amateur sports association. Our antitrust attorneys have represented the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) in a group boycott/conspiracy case against another hockey league and its member clubs, and won dismissal of all claims against the NHLPA in an antitrust licensing practices case brought by a terminated licensee. 

Our antitrust attorneys won three trials and an appeal on behalf of WGN-TV, which prevented the National Basketball Association from eliminating WGN’s telecasts of Bulls games. In another antitrust case filed in Denver, our antitrust attorneys defeated claims that Tribune Broadcasting had monopolized the purchase of sports programming from major syndicators such as Warner Bros.