Overview

Robert J. Wierenga's practice focuses on complex commercial litigation, with an emphasis on antitrust litigation and class action defense. He has a wide range of experience in counseling large and small clients on antitrust, intellectual property, and fair trade issues arising under federal, state and foreign law. He has represented clients in antitrust cases, consumer class actions and other complex disputes in courts around the country, and has assisted clients who have been contacted by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Canadian Competition Bureau and the European Commission's Directorate General for Competition. He also regularly counsels clients involved in litigation or arbitration arising out of complex commercial contracts or partnership agreements.

Robert is coordinating partner of Schiff Hardin’s Ann Arbor office.

  • Experience

    • Date v. Sony Electronics, Inc., et al. (E.D. Mich. 2009) Defending Sony Electronics and ABC Warehouse in putative national class action asserting claims for violation of consumer protection statutes, breach of warranty and unjust enrichment. Currithers v. FedEx Ground Package Service, Inc. (E.D. Mich. 2010) Defending FedEX Ground in multi-plaintiff case asserting fraud and employee misclassification.
    • In re Student-Athlete Likeness Litigation (N.D. Cal. 2009) Defending NCAA against putative class action claims for price fixing and group boycott in connection with alleged use of student-athlete likenesses.
    • American Needle, Inc. v. National Football League, et al. (2010). Prepared amicus brief for NCAA regarding proper application of single-entity doctrine to sports leagues.
    • Warrior Sports, Inc. v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n (Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals 2010). Defended NCAA against claim that standard-setting process for lacrosse sticks violated the Sherman Act. Motion for judgment on the pleadings was granted by the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, and affirmed on appeal to the Sixth Circuit.
    • Valassis Communications, Inc. v. News America Marketing, et al. (E.D. Mich. 2010). Represented publishing company on claim that defendant violated the Sherman Act and state unfair competition laws by engaging in anticompetitive tying, bundling and exclusive dealing. Valassis was awarded $300 million in damages after an eight-week jury trial in state court, and the case settled for a total of $500 million on the eve of trial of the Sherman Act claims.
    • CQ International, Inc. v. Rochem International, Inc. (D. Mass. 2009). Defended importer of pharmaceutical chemicals from tortious interference and unfair competition claims related to importation of chemicals from China. The client's motion for summary judgment was granted.
    • Antidote International Films v. Bloomsbury Publishing, plc (S.D.N.Y. 2007). Represented film company on fraud and breach of contract claims based on defendant's use of a false identity to generate interest in her art. The jury ruled in the film company's favor after a two-week trial.
    • In re NCAA 1-A Walk-On Football Players Litigation (W.D. Wash. 2006). Defended NCAA against purported class action claim that scholarship limits in the sport of football constituted a price-fixing conspiracy that violated the Sherman Act. The plaintiffs' motion for class certification was defeated.
    • White v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n (C.D. Cal. 2006). Defended NCAA against purported class action claim that financial aid rules in the sports of football and men's basketball constituted a price-fixing conspiracy the violated the Sherman Act. Case settled while the NCAA's motion to decertify the class was pending.
    • Metropolitan Intercollegiate Basketball Ass'n v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n (S.D.N.Y. 2005). Defended NCAA against claim that NCAA violated Sherman Act by organizing group boycott of rival basketball tournaments. Case settled after two weeks of trial.
    • In re Electrical and Mechanical Carbon Antitrust Litigation (D.N. J. 2004). Represented clients against purported class action claims that they had engaged in a price-fixing and market division conspiracy in violation of the Sherman Act.
    • Electrical and Mechanical Carbon and Graphite Products, European Commission Case C.38-359 (2003). Represented clients in proceedings before the European Commission in connection with claims of price-fixing and market division in violation of Article 85 of the E.C. Treaty.
    • United States of America v. Morganite, Inc. (E.D. Pa. 2002). Represented clients in criminal Sherman Act investigation.
    • Tanaka v. University of Southern California, et al. (Ninth Circuit 2001). Defended NCAA against claim that student-athlete transfer rules violated Sherman Act. The NCAA's motion to dismiss was granted by Central District of California and affirmed by Ninth Circuit on market definition grounds.
    • Adidas America, Inc. v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n (D. Kan. 1999). Defended NCAA against claim that equipment rules illegally restrained market for in-game advertising. The NCAA's motion for judgment on the pleadings was granted on market definition grounds.
    • OMS v. Varian Associates, Inc. (N.D. Cal. 1997). Defended client against claim that sales policies for replacement parts constituted anticompetitive tying in violation of the Sherman Act.
    • Benson Pump Co. v. Cardinal Systems (D. Colo. 1996). Represented plaintiff in Robinson-Patman Act price discrimination
  • Credentials

    Education

    • University of Michigan Law School, J.D., 1995, magna cum laude
      Order of the Coif
    • University of Michigan, B.A., 1991

    Bar Admissions

    • Michigan
    • California
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
    • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
    • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar)
    • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana
    • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
    • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan

        Professional Memberships

        • American Bar Association, Antitrust Law Section, Trade Associations Committee, Vice Chair
        • State Bar of Michigan, Antitrust, Franchise and Trade Regulation Section, Litigation Section

        Teaching Appointments

        • Professor, Michigan State University College of Law (2008-present) “Antitrust Law”
      • Insights

        TITLE
        News Release

        2019 Leading Lawyers Lists Recognize 95 Schiff Attorneys

        Schiff Hardin LLP is pleased to have 95 attorneys named to the 2019 Leading Lawyers list.

        News Release

        2018 Michigan Super Lawyers, Rising Stars Recognized Three Schiff Attorneys

        Schiff Hardin LLP is pleased to announce that three attorneys have been named to the 2018 Michigan Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists.

        News Release

        61 Schiff Attorneys Named to 2019 Best Lawyers in America List and Six Recognized as “Lawyer of the Year”

        Schiff Hardin is pleased to announce that 61 attorneys have been included in the 2019 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, as well as six who were named a “Lawyer of the Year” in their respective areas of practice.

        News Release

        95 Schiff Hardin Lawyers Named to 2018 Leading Lawyers Lists

        Ninety-six Schiff Hardin lawyers have been named to the 2018 Leading Lawyers lists for Illinois and Michigan.

        News Release

        Schiff Hardin Attorneys Named 2017 Michigan Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

        Two Schiff Hardin attorneys have been named 2017 Michigan Super Lawyers and one has been named a Rising Star.

        News Release

        99 Schiff Hardin Attorneys Named to 2017 Leading Lawyers List

        Ninety-nine Schiff Hardin lawyers have been named to the 2017 Leading Lawyers list for Illinois and Michigan.

        News Release

        Six Schiff Hardin Lawyers Named to 2016 Michigan Super Lawyers, Rising Stars Lists

        The Super Lawyers selection methodology includes a statewide nomination process, peer review by practice area, and independent research on candidates.

        Alert

        9th Circuit Finds Market Allegations Sufficient, Overturns Dismissal in Sutter Health Tying Case

        Last week, a 9th Circuit panel overturned the dismissal of plaintiffs’ tying and steering antitrust claims in the putative class action of Sidibe, et. al. v. Sutter Health.

        News Release

        91 Schiff Hardin Lawyers Named to 2016 Illinois, Michigan Leading Lawyers Network

        The list is comprised of those attorneys who are most recommended as top lawyers among their peers.

        News Release

        Seven Schiff Hardin Lawyers Named to 2015 Michigan Super Lawyers, Rising Stars Lists

        Four Schiff Hardin attorneys were also recognized in Michigan’s Women’s Edition.

        Other Publications

        • "The BCS: Antitrust Goes Bowling?" (co-author) GCP Magazine (May 2009)
        • "What Happens When Someone Calls a Foul on the Referee?" (co-author) The ABA Trade Association Committee Newsletter (Summer 2007)

        Speeches & Presentations

        • "When Must Competitors Compete? Antitrust, Sports and the 'Trade or Commerce' Requirement," ABA Antitrust Section Brown Bag Teleconference (Oct. 24, 2008)
      image description

      Can antitrust defendants benefit from eBay?

      Antitrust class action plaintiffs are seeking injunctive relief more and more frequently. Ann Arbor partner Bob Wierenga traces the Court's increasing reliance on the 4-factor eBay test when considering injunctive relief, and what defendants can do to strengthen their cases. More