Corporate Antitrust Affirmative Recovery
Competition is critical to innovation and fair pricing. When competitors collude or dominant firms flex their muscle anticompetitively, markets don’t work and businesses and consumers suffer. It is our job to assist corporate antitrust victims in recovering what cartels and monopolists have taken from them.
In the United States, where antitrust affirmative recoveries have a long and storied history, we have been involved in many of the signature matters of the day. Our business clients have achieved recoveries in recent years worth tens of millions of dollars.
In Europe, the recently approved Damages Directive is altering the landscape for antitrust affirmative recoveries, vastly improving the ability of European companies to recapture illegal overcharges. We are actively engaged with European corporations asserting their rights to reclaim significant money lost to cartels.
Corporate Antitrust Affirmative Recovery Claims are Corporate Assets
Corporations, no less than consumers, can be victimized by price fixing and other anticompetitive conduct. It is no longer acceptable business policy to let cartelists get away with their theft. The amounts at stake for large corporations victimized by price fixing and other antitrust violations are often staggering – these claims are corporate assets that companies have an obligation to their stakeholders to monetize.
A corporation whose primary exposure to antitrust and competition laws is to defend against class actions might initially take a jaundiced view of antitrust affirmative recovery actions for fear of encouraging antitrust litigation of the very sort that has bedeviled them. Having spent years defending such cases, we appreciate the sentiment. But it would be a costly mistake to let that perception dissuade a company from recovering money that has been stolen from it.
Corporate Antitrust Affirmative Recovery Claims are Flexible Business Tools
Clients who seek recovery of antitrust overcharges generally have substantial flexibility in charting a course toward recovery. Liability under competition laws is joint and several, which means that each defendant is responsible for the entirety of a plaintiff’s damages. The practical significance of this is that an antitrust plaintiff can offer leniency to defendants with whom it has special relationships without jeopardizing recovery of the entire amount of its damage claim from the remaining defendants. Thus, for example, if a client wishes to protect its business relationship with one defendant, it can elect not to sue that company, or settle with it on lenient terms, while still collecting the full value of its claim from other defendants.
Antitrust victims’ interests are not limited to the retrospective recovery of damages already suffered; there is also the prospective interest in improving business terms with suppliers and service providers going forward. Antitrust plaintiffs can leverage their claim to supplement any monetary recovery with agreements for favorable business terms. By taking steps to protect their legal interests, our clients stand not only to recover substantial financial losses, they can also avoid future losses and discourage cartel behavior for years to come.
Corporate Antitrust Affirmative Recovery Actions Typically Follow Public Enforcement Efforts
Most of the antitrust cases that involve damages on a scale warranting a recovery action begin with public enforcement by the U.S. Department of Justice, the European Commission, or other competition authority; these public actions form the basis for private actions by cartel victims. The official imprimatur of, e.g., a DOJ or Commission decision, has led an increasing number of major corporations to pursue antitrust damage recovery actions in recent years. In Europe, companies such as Michelin have followed Commission infringement decisions with their own private affirmative damage recovery actions. Private enforcement in Europe will only increase in the wake of the Damages Directive. And in the U.S., major automakers such as GM and Ford have initiated damage recovery actions in response to the DOJ’s auto parts investigations. Our clients, which include major international retailers, e-commerce giants, international air carriers, and many others, can take comfort in the knowledge that the most sophisticated antitrust enforcers in the world share their view of the merits of their cases.
The vast increase in the number of antitrust affirmative recovery efforts by major corporations – from AT&T to Coca Cola to Delta Airlines to Google to Walmart – underscores the need to pursue these kinds of claims or cede a competitive advantage to rivals. It is now expected that in virtually every major antitrust matter, large corporate plaintiffs will assert their right to recover their damages.
Strange & Butler is an International Leader in Corporate Antitrust Affirmative Recovery
Strange & Butler's antitrust affirmative recovery practice has emerged as an industry leader. As antitrust enforcement has gone global, so have we. From our offices in London and Los Angeles, we are able to service our clients’ antitrust needs where ever they arise. As a pure-play affirmative recovery practice, we are able to focus on our corporate clients’ damage recovery needs and opportunities unencumbered by the business conflicts that typically limit larger firms. Our roots in both the damage recovery bar and large defense firms allow us to offer our corporate clients a unique combination of antitrust knowledge and practical experience. From this platform, we are able to balance our clients’ relationships with suppliers and service providers, on the one hand, and their obligations to stakeholders to recover damages resulting from wrongful conduct, on the other. We can craft an approach that will secure bottom-line results, and at the same time maintain the partnerships our clients need to carry on their business.
We have earned a reputation for providing exemplary legal representation to antitrust clients. Our attorneys have played leading roles in groundbreaking antitrust litigation, such as Oracle's successful defense against the U.S. DOJ’s landmark challenge to Oracle's hostile takeover of PeopleSoft, and conducted numerous confidential investigations of price-fixing, market allocation, and other antitrust concerns. We are involved in the most important antitrust recovery matters of the day on behalf of numerous Fortune 500 companies. We also regularly counsel clients on competition issues as they arise in the course of their business. Our attorneys have also been involved in obtaining antitrust clearance, both in the U.S. and in Europe, for some of the largest corporate mergers of the last decade. We are also active participants in the antitrust community, and have authored numerous articles on competition issues in the U.S. and abroad.
Antitrust damage recovery claims are corporate assets that company stakeholders have an interest in monetizing. If anticompetitive conduct has affected your company, we can help you understand your legal and business options, and handle your matter at every stage from initial analysis through ultimate resolution.
To learn more about us, please contact any of the attorneys identified below. We look forward to speaking with you.