Our lawyers have been the go-to antitrust lawyers for the National Collegiate Athletic Association for over a dozen years. Whether the topic was scholarship limits, relations with private sports camps, coaching restrictions, equipment rules or compensation for student-athletes for televised games, we have been involved in the antitrust cases that have dominated antitrust and sports headlines. Our team has done it all, from devising strategy with top NCAA management to efficiently overseeing massive e-discovery.
Other Civil Litigation
Our antitrust litigation legacy dates back to the Electrical Equipment cartel cases of the 1960’s. More recently, we’ve taken on cutting-edge topics for both plaintiffs and defendants. When the dominant provider of in-store promotions and coupon inserts offered a coercive bundled discount to packaged goods companies, we sued on behalf of its much smaller competitor and obtained a result well over $500 million. We have also successfully defended an association of cemeteries from claims of illegal lock-in and tying by showing the claims failed to meet the legal requirements and were based on a flawed market theory, obtaining a reversal of a denial of our request for Rule 11 fees against plaintiffs after dismissal.
Criminal Litigation and State Investigations
We understand that not all antitrust matters start with private plaintiffs or Washington enforcers. Schiff Hardin lawyers have successfully handled investigations, both criminal and civil, by state attorneys-general. In one recent example, we negotiated a settlement with a state attorney-general for a foreign company and continue to vigorously defend the related private litigation; the co-defendants remain mired in the criminal matter. In another example, we represented an out-of-state company as it fought off consumer-protection violation allegations from a state attorney-general.
Pricing and Other Distribution Matters
We know that pricing and distribution can be the most important factors to a company’s success. They can also raise serious and complicated antitrust issues. Our lawyers know how to handle them. We have created and implemented minimum advertised pricing policies and a multi-channel distribution strategy, including internet sales, for a leading ice-machine manufacturer. Lawyers now with Schiff Hardin helped one manufacturer use different pricing methods as it sold replacement parts for its products through dealers and other channels, both online and in brick-and-mortar locations. Clients have turned to us to ensure that their Internet sales policies stay within the law while best serving their customers.
Hart-Scott-Rodino pre-merger notification practice can be a world all its own. Fortunately, it is a world in which our lawyers are comfortable, having worked their way through the maze of HSR rules to make hundreds of filings. We also have experience with the close calls that generate “second requests” for information. In one review, lawyers now with the firm successfully obtained clearance for the sale of a leading medium-duty truck manufacturer to one of its major competitors. In another, our lawyers not only made the HSR filing for an acquisition of the client’s largest supplier, we coordinated the actions of counsel in the European Union, China and a dozen other jurisdictions, obtaining all the clearances in time to meet the client’s timetable.
Joint Ventures and Other Competitor Collaboration
Joint efforts among competitors can produce great benefits for the parties and their customers; however, they also can lead to collusion, making careful antitrust advice necessary. For a factory jointly run by the two leading competitors in a manufacturing industry, our lawyers kept the legitimate operations running smoothly while assuring the FTC that antitrust principles were observed. In another example, our lawyers established and monitored a dozen joint research ventures among nearly all the competitors in an industry. In addition, we have advised associations, consultants and companies on the proper way to successfully conduct benchmarking.