The Brattle Group has been involved in many of the major cases involving alleged price fixing and other forms of collusion over the past twenty years. These include litigation involving auto parts, air cargo, raw milk, DRAMs, SRAMs, cardboard boxes, vitamins, silicon alloys, carbon fiber, pharmaceuticals, carpet, and airfares.
Our work has spanned a wide range of issues that arise in these types of cases, including:
- Assessing whether the alleged conspiracy increased prices or decreased competition
- Valuing the magnitude of these effects and providing analyses used in connection with settlement negotiations or as testimony regarding damages
- Examining and responding to evidence put forth by opposing experts and counsel
- Evaluating class certification issues
For a leading automobile manufacturer, Brattle economists estimated collusive overcharges and the volume of commerce affected by collusion among suppliers of specified auto parts and components.
Brattle economists and an academic affiliate have been engaged by a group of defendants in class actions brought by direct and indirect purchasers of technology components for use in electronic devices in both the United States and Canada. Brattle is conducting an analysis of the class certification issues and any potential damages surrounding allegations of price-fixing by the technology component manufacturers.
Brattle economists were retained in a matter involving a program to restrict supply, sponsored by an agricultural cooperative, the National Milk Producers Federation, and other defendants. The “Herd Retirement Program” paid farmers to slaughter their milk herds and leave the market for a period of time. We worked on behalf of a class of indirect purchasers to perform an econometric analysis to estimate the effect of the alleged anticompetitive conduct on the spread between prices and the federally mandated price floors set by the USDA (the so called “over order premium”). A pass-through analysis also was performed to estimate the impact on retail prices for milk products on a state-by-state basis. The matter settled in 2016 for $52 million.
For a class of direct purchasers of Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM), and in a separate proceeding for a class of direct purchasers of Static Random Access Memory (SRAM), members of The Brattle Group estimated class-wide damages from alleged collusive price elevation and provided expert testimony. Brattle supported testifying expert in an analysis of liability through class certification and the merits phase. Brattle principals provided testimony on the econometric estimation of class-wide damages in the two cases. In both cases the experts used an econometric model of product-level transaction data that controlled for hundreds of separate categories of products. We also provided an extensive critique of the testimony provided by opposing experts. Both matters settled before trial after expert reports were filed and deposition testimony was given.
Brattle economists, including Professor Daniel McFadden, have been retained by plaintiffs to assess the effects of market allocation and ownership restrictions for a particular line of insurance in the United States. A consortium of insurers covers a significant fraction of U.S. consumers who receive private insurance in the United States. The member insurers, through their association, license their trademark by requiring members to sell insurance only in their exclusive service areas (ESAs). In this case, currently before the Federal Court, plaintiffs allege that because this arrangement prevents entry by one member of the consortium into the territory of another, it has stifled competition and as a result increased premiums paid by consumers.
For a producer of corrugated fiberboard products facing price-fixing and market-allocation claims by a class of purchasers, members of The Brattle Group analyzed and critiqued the damages claims of the plaintiffs’ expert. Our analysis demonstrated that plausible modifications of the expert’s damages model significantly lowered damages estimates. Our assessment also pointed out flaws in the theoretical underpinnings of the model, the variables used to describe market pricing behavior, and the execution of the statistical estimation of the model.