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Antitrust Litigation

HeplerBroom's antitrust counsel approach each trade regulation matter with our client's objectives and practical problem-solving strategies firmly in mind. While any antitrust issue poses a "problem" for clients, antitrust and distribution litigation and planning require lawyers capable of finding the most economical and expeditious means of solving the problem. HeplerBroom excels at antitrust problem-solving due to our depth of experience across the spectrum of issues typically implicated in antitrust, distribution and trade regulation matters. There is no substitute for the years of antitrust experience we bring across a vast range of businesses and industries. And, when it comes to antitrust dispute resolution, our Midwestern-based antitrust lawyers offer economic and logistical advantages and value to our clients, regionally and nationally.

Areas of Concentration

  • Compliance/Government Enforcement
  • Class Actions
  • Trade and Professional Associations
  • Distribution/Supply Relationships
  • Mergers & Acquisitions/ Joint Ventures
  • Unfair Trade Practices
  • Intellectual Property
  • International

Antitrust Litigation
Our antitrust lawyers have conducted significant civil and criminal antitrust litigation in recent years in federal and state courts. The matters range from conspiracy and monopolization claims under the Sherman Act, exclusive dealing, tying, and requirements contract arrangements under the Clayton Act, and price discrimination claims under the Robinson-Patman Act to manage litigation and enforcement investigations. HeplerBroom's antitrust lawyers have successfully defeated class certification in several national antitrust class actions. The antitrust lawyers have also represented clients in formal and informal investigative proceedings with the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission.

The difference? Our antitrust trial lawyers are actually that -- trial lawyers, not trial preparers -- who have actually tried complex antitrust cases to jury verdict and managed complex antitrust litigation. Many plaintiffs bring antitrust actions with the hope of coercing a settlement under the threat of treble damages, without lawyers who are prepared to confront the courtroom itself. We have found that the best approach to defend our clients in these cases is intelligent staffing with experienced antitrust trial counsel, early and continuous coordination with clients on strategy and goals, and aggressive, firm and direct dealings with plaintiffs' counsel. While most cases are not tried, we have a strong record of success on dismissal and summary judgment motions; demonstrating the capability to try the case to completion often makes the difference in securing victory.

When clients are victimized by antitrust violations we provide a complete evaluation of all options and aggressively pursue the approach that fits our clients' needs, whether it is reference to government prosecutors, pursuit of private litigation alone or as part of a class action, or negotiation of business terms to compensate for the injury. We have successfully prosecuted claims to recovery in excess of national class action settlement awards.

Antitrust Business Services
The best way to solve antitrust issues is to avoid them by proactively addressing them head-on in business planning. When "the facts are alive" we can help shape business conduct with advance planning to minimize or avoid antitrust risk. Our practice in this area has several dimensions.

For example, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and strategic alliances often involve questions concerning the legality of formation of the entity under increasingly close antitrust regulation. Some may require pre-merger notification under the Hart Scott Rodino Act and working with the Justice Department Antitrust Division or the Federal Trade Commission to resolve competitive concerns. Vertical restrictions on distributors, dealers and sales representatives and development of suitable agreements to protect parties' interests are vitally important. Termination of distributors and dealers or modification of distribution channels, across a patch work of state laws as well as federal antitrust law, require careful planning. Pricing determinations may also require antitrust guidance to avoid unlawful pricing and Robinson Patman Act price discrimination problems. Collaborations and relationships with competitors and participation in trade associations and industry organizations pose their own special risks.

A sound antitrust compliance program is one way to help companies and individuals understand and address the key antitrust and trade regulation issues. Our antitrust group has prepared individually tailored antitrust compliance programs for large and small, and publicly and privately-held companies, including web-based compliance programs accessible to employees on their computers. In transactional matters, creativity and experience is essential to structure companies and transactions to avoid application of antitrust and trade regulation laws. Requirements contracts and exclusive dealing arrangements, refusals to deal, industry standard setting, competitive benchmarking, ancillary restraints such as non-competition or non-solicitation agreements, and even unilateral conduct by firms with market power may create serious antitrust risks.

International Antitrust
Antitrust regulation and enforcement is no longer an American monopoly. There are now literally hundreds of countries with antitrust or competition laws that affect how companies do business overseas and at home. Whether you are dealing with distribution of products in the European Union or Viet Nam, importing products from China or Mexico, or setting up manufacturing operations in South Africa or Canada, competition laws exist and apply to your business conduct. The antitrust and trade regulation principles across the globe are quite divergent in their application and meaning. Firms today need counsel sensitive to international antitrust with the ability to understand and develop solutions worldwide. Enforcement is vigorous in the EU and other countries, and breathtaking fines have been levied on American firms for conduct that would likely be legal under American antitrust analysis and practices. HeplerBroom's antitrust group keeps pace with these developments and maintains relationships with leading firms in numerous foreign jurisdictions to be sure our clients' interests are effectively protected.

Representative Client Industries

Electric Utilities Building Components Manufacturer
Brewer and Beer Distributor Food Packaging Manufacturer
Medical Devices and Technology Branded Food Manufacturer
Integrated Health Delivery Systems Military Equipment Manufacturer
Animal Pharmaceutical and Food Products Agribusiness Chemicals and Technology
Hospitality Industry Lime Producer
Consumer Products Manufacturers Optics and Lens Manufacturer
National Franchise Systems Automotive Component Manufacturer
Distributors and Independent Sales Reps Construction and Electrical Contractors
Pharmaceutical Wholesaler Construction Equipment Manufacturer
Personnel Service Companies Plastics Manufacturer
Financial Services Hospital System
Physician Practice Groups Software Development
Managed Care Organizations Advertising Data Services
Internet Based Publisher Professional & Industry Trade Associations