Since the firm's founding in 1958, antitrust and trade regulation law has been a major field of legal service at Eckert Seamans. Large, medium-sized, and small companies throughout the United States and abroad have been counseled by the firm on trade matters and in the litigation of civil and criminal antitrust cases.
The firm's antitrust and trade regulation attorneys have extensive experience in representing clients in civil and criminal antitrust cases, including cases ultimately decided by the United States Supreme Court. They have also represented clients in grand jury investigations, administrative proceedings, treble damage actions, and mergers under review by antitrust enforcers. All of these activities have called on the firm's combination of expertise in litigation and in antitrust principles.
Among the clients represented by Eckert Seamans in antitrust cases are multinational corporations engaged in producing or providing aluminum, steel, ferrous metals, chemicals, electric generators, fabricated metal products, building products, heavy equipment, natural gas production and transmission, car radios, food products, health insurance, plumbing fixtures, and waste management. The firm has advised other companies in such businesses as food distribution, laboratory equipment, education, health care, railway maintenance equipment, construction, pleasure boats, luggage, coal production, land development and retail consumer product sales.
Eckert Seamans has achieved notable success in pursuing alternative dispute resolution in its representation of clients involved in civil antitrust litigation. Alternatives to trial can preserve a party's rights without the expenditure of large sums needed for a full trial. The alternatives that the firm has used include the presentation of evidence by each side to chief executive officers of contending corporations, the presentation of evidence to a judge sitting without a jury in an abbreviated proceeding, and settlement through the involvement of a court-appointed mediator. In each of these situations the alternative to trial resulted in a settlement favorable to the firm's client. The firm has also negotiated favorable plea agreements in criminal cases.
Antitrust counseling, helping clients to avoid the risk of antitrust litigation and dealing with the federal and state antitrust enforcement agencies outside the litigation context, is an important service available from the firm. Counseling is designed to help clients achieve their business goals while minimizing antitrust risks. The firm presents seminars as part of its clients' antitrust compliance programs. The firm also regularly provides antitrust counseling in such areas as mergers and acquisitions, compliance with the Hart-Scott-Rodino reporting requirements, the pricing of products, the development of distribution networks, participation in trade associations, franchising problems, consumer protection matters, the scope of patent monopolies, and compliance with the Robinson-Patman Act.
The most frequently raised topics on which the firm provides antitrust counseling involve the pricing and distribution of products. Questions frequently handled by the firm involve price discrimination, incentives to special customers, volume discounts, territorial and customer restraints, resale pricing, exclusive distributorships, special demands of customers, development of sales networks, distributor termination, franchising, contacts with competitors and other distribution problems.
Much of the firm's trade regulation counseling has involved international antitrust enforcement. Questions on which the firm has advised include the acquisition of foreign companies, the formation of joint ventures with foreign companies, the entry of foreign companies into the United States market, exclusive territorial agreements for the distribution of imported and exported goods, the liability of foreign cartels, and the enforcement mechanisms employed in the European Community and other countries.
The firm's fundamental approach to antitrust problems is to assist clients in achieving their legitimate business objectives within the framework of trade regulation law. The firm's antitrust and trade regulation attorneys draw on the skill and experience of other Eckert Seamans’ attorneys practicing in a broad spectrum of legal areas. As a result, clients benefit from the firm's experience in other areas of the law as well as from its strengths in antitrust and trade regulation law.
Michael R. Borasky
View All Attorneys in
Top Ten Things In-House Counsel Should Know About U.S. Antitrust Law
Eckert Seamans Adds Telecommunications Attorney James Falvey and Antitrust Lawyer Allen Bachman as Members in its Washington, D.C. Office