Lead Attorneys in Major Antitrust Litigation Over Underground Infrastructure
Lead Counsel in Major Antitrust Challenge to Restraints of Trade in Underground Infrastructure
In this major antitrust litigation, we represented the largest privately-held manufacturer of precast concrete products in North America. On its behalf, we challenged restrictive contracts made between the largest telecommunications provider in North America and a U.S. subsidiary of the world’s largest producer of construction materials. We alleged that by these contracts the two defendants had given a monopoly to the U.S. subsidiary for the sale of telephone vaults in most parts of California and Nevada, and that the U.S. subsidiary had exploited its monopoly position to force property developers to purchase only its electrical vaults.
Almost immediately after the case began, the U.S. subsidiary ceased to restrain trade in the affected markets for electrical vaults.
The case entailed full-blown antitrust litigation in a federal district court and then in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals from 2006 until 2010. The defendants ultimately prevailed after years of closely contested litigation, but before then they curtailed one of their principal offending practices in response to the lawsuit. That allowed our client to resume making sales of an entire line of products that it had been prevented from selling (precast electrical vaults in the vast regions of California and Nevada served by AT&T’s landline network).
Defendants were represented by two teams of preeminent, world renowned antitrust attorneys. The trial court substantially rejected their motions to dismiss and the entirety of their first round of motions for summary judgment.
Much later in the case, the trial court granted a second motion for summary judgment, ending the case shortly before trial was scheduled to begin. By then, both sides had largely prepared for the trial.
We also handled the appeal, continuing to oppose some of the best antitrust practitioners in the world. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment, definitively concluding the litigation.
From this experience, we learned to act as the lead attorneys in major antitrust litigation against dominant firms represented by world-leading antitrust attorneys both in trial court and on appeal. In this case, we collaborated closely with Professor Robert Hall (ret.), an internationally famous and highly respected antitrust economist at Stanford University and the Hoover Institution.
This case also gave rise to a related class action against A&T, in which we and two other law firms represented property developers that had suffered losses because of the challenged pricing manipulation. Case name: Jensen Enterprises, Inc. v. Oldcastle Precast, Inc. et al. (9th Cir., Case No. 09-15861). The related class action was La Collina dal Lago, L.P. v. Pacific Bell Telephone Company (CA Sup. Ct., Sacramento Cty., Case No. 2009-00037035-CU-BT).
MR. MARKHAM’S ARTICLES ON ANTITRUST LAW
AN OVERVIEW OF ANTITRUST LAW (By William Markham, © 2000)
“Antitrust law is the law of competition and is perhaps the least understood law of all. This article provides an overview and explanation of the essential principles of antitrust law.”
ANTITRUST EXEMPTIONS AND IMMUNITIES (By William Markham, © 2022)
“Over the years, Congress and the federal courts have established various immunities from federal antitrust law, removing from its reach specified commercial activities and even entire lines of commerce.”
HOW THE CONSUMER-WELFARE STANDARD TRANSFORMED CLASSICAL ANTITRUST LAW (William Markham, © 2021)
“Since the late 1970s, antitrust law in the United States has been transformed out of recognition and rendered largely toothless by consumer-welfare jurisprudence….,”
READ MR. MARKHAM’S ARTICLES ON TRIAL PROCEDURE AND CONTRACT LAW
MAKING SENSE OF THE RULES OF EVIDENCE AND PRESENTING YOUR EVIDENCE AT TRIAL (By William Markham, 2011)
“I try in this article simply to set forth a list of simple rules to explain the key points of the law of evidence. I also offer several pointers on organizing evidence in order to present it competently at trial.”
ANATOMY OF A LAWSUIT (By William Markham, © 2007)
“This article is written for non-lawyers, young litigators, and non-litigator attorneys who wish to understand how a lawsuit works in practice from start to finish.”
AN OVERVIEW OF CONTRACT LAW (By William Markham, 2002)
“Contract law lies at the heart of our system of laws and serves as the foundation of our entire society…. Our society depends upon free exchange in the marketplace at every level. Contract law makes this possible.”
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