The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has upheld the district court's decision to dismiss a price-fixing suit against Munger, Tolles & Olson client Brighton Collectibles (formerly Leegin) in PSKS Inc. v. Leegin Creative Leather Products Inc. In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's 2007 Leegin decision, which struck down the century-old ban on vertical minimum price-fixing and applied a “rule of reason” analysis for resale price maintenance, PSKS amended its complaint to pursue its claims under the rule of reason and attempted to include horizontal Sherman Act claims. Munger Tolles obtained a dismissal of the entire case in May 2009 before U.S. District Judge T. John Ward who found that the amended complaint failed to establish the relevant market necessary to conduct the rule of reason analysis and that the horizontal price-fixing failed to state a claim on their face.
Munger Tolles partner Jeffrey Weinberger told Law360 that he is optimistic that the recent ruling will effectively put an end to the case. “Under the law, a company without significant market power should be able to adopt these types of policies and implement them,” Mr. Weinberger said. “The court correctly found that in the absence of substantial anti-competitive effects on interbrand competition, there's no basis for antitrust violations.”
MTO serves as lead national antitrust counsel for Brighton in a series of state and federal resale price maintenance cases. MTO has obtained dismissals at the pleading or summary judgment stage in each matter.
Additional MTO attorneys representing Brighton Collectibles include Rohit Singla, Jeffrey Wu and Kate Anderson.