(Daily Journal) Joseph Saveri of the Joseph Saveri Law Firm was selected by the California Daily Journal as one of 31 “Top Plaintiff Lawyers” in California for 2019. He and firm partner Top Plaintiff Lawyer Steven Williams were profiled in a supplement issue contained in today’s Daily Journal. The firm was one of only six statewide to field multiple winners of this prestigious award.
Joseph Saveri – Antitrust
Capacitors, the fundamental electronic gizmos that help regulate energy flows in electronic devices, are among the latest products to get antitrust attention from Joseph Saveri. His firm has been appointed sole lead counsel representing a class of direct purchasers of the devices. They allege that manufacturers formed a cartel and conspired to fix, raise, and stabilize prices in the multi-billion-dollar market for aluminum, tantalum, and film capacitors.
“This was old-fashioned price fixing,” Saveri said. “There are very few products that electric current goes through that do not contain capacitors. There are thousands in every automobile. They are ubiquitous.”
Defendants include Panasonic Corp., Sanyo Electric Group Ltd., NEC Tokin Corp., KEMET Corp., Hitachi Chemical Co. Ltd., Samsung Electro Mechanics America Inc., and scores of others. Trial is set for February 2020. In re: Capacitors Antitrust Litigation, 3:14-cv-03264 (N.D. Cal., filed July 18, 2014).
U.S. District Judge James Donato of San Francisco has denied the defendants’ motions to dismiss the case, which is currently in discovery with class certification fully briefed. Two settlement phases totaling $100 million have taken place involving seven defendants; a third for about the same amount is awaiting court approval.
The case attracted the attention of the U.S. Department of Justice, which has announced fines and criminal prosecutions for federal antitrust violations.
“Two individuals have actually been sentenced to prison,” Saveri said. “Several are fugitives.”
Meanwhile, Saveri’s firm continues to utilize the precedents set by its big 2015 win at the state Supreme Court regarding pharmaceutical companies’ pay-to-delay tactics that keep generic versions of patented drugs off the market so that prices can remain high. In that case, In re: Cipro Cases I and II, the high court adopted rules favoring plaintiffs for adjudicating reverse payment antitrust claims. Cipro itself, involving a Bayer Corp. antibiotic, settled on the eve of trial in San Diego for $399 million. Settlement disbursement is in progress.
Cipro’s rule has been useful to Saveri and others in the antitrust plaintiffs’ bar in numerous cases. Saveri said that his $105 million settlement in 2018 in In re Lidoderm Antitrust Litigation, 3:14-md-02521 (N.D. Cal., filed April 3, 2014), was in part based on Cipro. So is In re: Restasis Antitrust Litigation, MDL2819 (E.D. N.Y. consolidated Jan 31, 2018), a case accusing Allergan PLC of violating antitrust laws to keep generic versions of it’s dry-eye medication off the market.
“Cipro established a number of principles involving causation, certification issues, and how to measure damages,” Saveri said. “It’s important for pharmaceutical antitrust law. It’s the case the keeps on giving.”
(Reporting by John Roemer)