July Antitrust Bulletin

July 18, 2014

Seventh Circuit Revives Global Price-Fixing Suit

On July 1, the Seventh Circuit agreed to rehear a $3.5 billion antitrust lawsuit by Motorola Mobility LLC against several electronics manufacturers. In Motorola Mobility LLC v. AU Optronics Corp., et al., the Northern District of Illinois tossed the plaintiff’s claims against several LCD manufacturers on the ground that the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act (FTAIA) barred price-fixing claims relating to purchases that non-U.S. affiliates made from non-U.S. defendants. On appeal to the Seventh Circuit, however, the U.S. Department of Justice intervened via an amicus brief arguing that the antitrust laws extend to wholly owned foreign commerce so long as there is a substantial adverse effect in the United States. Several foreign governments have voiced disapproval over any foreign expansion of the U.S. antitrust laws.

U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Settle Circuit Split Regarding Multidistrict Litigations

The long-standing issue of whether plaintiffs in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) can appeal the dismissal of their claims immediately, as opposed to waiting for a final order from the MDL, will be decided at the highest level. On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider whether the Second Circuit erred when it rejected an appeal by two lead plaintiff bondholders in a case involving manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). According to plaintiffs in Ellen Gelboim and Linda Zacher et al. v. Credit Suisse Group AG et al., the Federal, Ninth and Tenth circuits would refuse to allow an appeal of their claims’ dismissal, while the D.C., Third, Fifth, Seventh, Eighth and Eleventh circuits would have permitted such an appeal. Defendants argued that trial courts have a “critical and inherent authority” to manage their own dockets, and that there is no demonstrable need to amend the current appellate process.

Apple Prepared to Pay $450 Million in Settlement of E-books Lawsuit

Apple’s settlement of its e-book price-fixing class-action lawsuit, announced last month, will require Apple to pay $400 million to consumers, and $50 million in attorneys’ fees to the states and class counsel. Apple went to trial last year in In re: Electronic Books Antitrust Litigation in the Southern District of New York, where an adverse liability ruling by Judge Denise Cote spurred settlement negotiations. Facing damages upwards of $800 million, Apple elected to settle, pending its appeal of the July 2013 liability ruling to the Second Circuit. Depending on the Second Circuit, Apple’s settlement payments could be significantly reduced, if not eliminated.

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