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Antitrust and Trade Regulation

FVLD regularly consults with clients to minimize business disruption caused by antitrust and trade regulation allegations. The Firm has defended its clients against criminal, administrative and civil proceedings alleging horizontal and vertical price-fixing, concerted refusals to deal, violations of the Robinson-Patman Act and other violations of the federal and state antitrust laws. The Firm also counsels clients on regulatory concerns arising from mergers and acquisitions, represents domestic and foreign clients on Hart Scott Rodino matters before the FTC, and provides preventive counseling and training to clients nationwide designed to ensure antitrust compliance. The majority of our efforts have been on behalf of corporate defendants, although we also have prosecuted antitrust and trade regulation claims on behalf of victimized businesses.

The Firm has successfully defused both state and federal price-fixing investigations of its clients, from responding to Criminal Investigative Demands (CIDs) from governmental and state agencies through criminal prosecution in a variety of jurisdictions. Rather than rely solely on formal court proceedings, we emphasize a thorough factual investigation of the adverse claims and witnesses. In one case, our successful investigation of the government witnesses and the grand jury proceedings so undermined the government’s case that the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice voluntarily dismissed the indictment against our client for alleged horizontal price-fixing before trial, the only indictment dismissed in an industry-wide series of convictions. In fact, virtually all other companies that were indicted were found guilty or entered guilty pleas. Shortly after the indictment had been issued, a wave of civil antitrust suits was filed against our client, seeking hundreds of millions of dollars. We successfully caused all of them to be dismissed.
In civil litigation, we have successfully defended clients against a variety of trade regulation claims, including class actions. The Firm acts as both trial and appellate counsel. Our appellate experience enabled us to assist a company that called us in only after a jury already found it liable for price-fixing. We persuaded the appellate court to reverse the verdict and foreclose any retrial. In a different context, our advance counseling and proactive approach to expected civil litigation resulted in the dismissal of the antitrust claims and enabled our client to vertically integrate a fifty-year-old distribution pattern at a minimal cost while its primary competitor spent over $75 million dollars to settle claims with its disgruntled distributors.

Many of our clients have taken advantage of our antitrust compliance counseling and programs, including “Good Housekeeping” seminars. Good Housekeeping seminars are targeted to local managers and conducted in plain English with the aim of educating them on the intricacies of antitrust laws as applied to commonplace pricing and distribution concerns.