It is rare for private antitrust cases to go to trial but that is precisely what occurred in the recently concluded case of US Airways Inc. v. Sabre Holdings Corp. et al. in which The Brattle Group assisted attorneys from O’Melveny & Myers LLP in securing a favorable jury verdict on behalf of US Airways.
The contract included, among others, a “full content” provision. This provision required US Airways to give Sabre access to information on all of its flights and fares in order to reach the large network of travel agencies using Sabre’s ticket distribution system. However, it also prohibited US Airways from offering lower fares for those same flights in other distribution channels, such as on the airline’s own website. US Airways claimed that Sabre unreasonably restrained trade by imposing this and other provisions, which the airline alleged reinforced Sabre’s market power, stifled competition, and harmed both the airline and consumers.
Professor Stiglitz provided testimony on Sabre’s market power and how the challenged contract provisions harmed both the airline and consumers. Importantly, he also provided testimony on the role of “two-sidedness” in thinking about this market. Professor Stiglitz relied, in part, on the testimony of Professor Zimmerman, who analyzed the profitability of Sabre’s ticket distribution system. Professor Stiglitz also opined on what prices Sabre would have charged US Airways “but for” the challenged restrictions. Professor McFadden provided testimony, based on his analysis of data on millions of bookings on US Airways flights, regarding the amount of money the airline was overcharged as a result of the challenged restrictions based on Professor Stiglitz’s “but-for” prices.
"Brattle played a major role in developing the economic theory of the case and in supporting our experts," said Andrew Frackman, a partner at O'Melveny & Myers LLP. "Their help was invaluable in the success of the case."
To learn more about Brattle’s expertise, please contact a member of our team.