Steven Williams of the Joseph Saveri Law Firm was selected by the California Daily Journal as one of thirty “Top Plaintiff Lawyers” in California for 2018. He and fellow Top Plaintiff Lawyer Joseph Saveri were profiled in a supplement issue contained in today’s Daily Journal. The firm was one of only five statewide to field multiple winners of this prestigious award.
Steven Williams – Antitrust, consumer protection, qui tam
Williams has been co-lead counsel in several antitrust cases, recovering more than $2 billion for client over the past decade, as well as receiving ground-breaking rulings in federal and state courts that expanded the right of plaintiffs to bring antitrust claims.
He worked as co-lead counsel for a class of consumers and businesses who purchased automobiles and sustained injury as a result of the largest cartel of automobile parts manufacturers in history.
“It’s one I’m very proud of,” he said. “The extent of recovery going to the indirect purchasers is very impressive [in] that it succeeded any direct purchaser case I’ve ever heard of. It also had a lot of unique challenges. It’s truly international.
Plaintiffs alleged the cartel conspired to “inflate, fix, raise, maintain, or artificially stabilize prices of automotive wire harness systems.” Many of the complex legal issues presented in the case were of first impression, especially around global cartel behavior, according to Williams. To date, settlements are well in excess of $1 billion. Automotive Parts Antitrust Litigation, 2:12-md-2311 (E.D. Mich., filed Feb. 7, 2012).
“We were able to stay poised in terms of the approach we were taking in terms of what we hoped to accomplish,” Williams added. “The case if virtually complete. It’s the largest recovery of indirect purchases.”
Williams said he and his team at Joseph Saveri Law Firm managed all the plaintiff groups, such as the U.S. Department of Justice and foreign entities from Canada, Taiwan, China, France, England, and Germany.
From 2007 through 2017, Williams was co-lead counsel in a lawsuit alleging that dozens of airlines had entered into a price-fixing scheme, which affected consumers who planned to fly between the U.S., Asia, and Oceania.
Williams won an argument before the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in April 2017, which rejected the defendants’ argument that damages claims against them were barred by the filed rate doctrine. The case moved forward an in March the United States Supreme Court denied the defendants’ petition for certiorari. Transpacific Air Transportation Antitrust Litigation, 07-cv-5634 (N.D. Cal. 2018)
“It’s an esoteric area,” Williams said. “In relation to the market, it’s archaic. We live in an era of deregulation. It does take courts time to catch up. This is one of those instances.”
Williams was also appointed co-lead counsel in the consumer antitrust class action involving Qualcomm Inc., and he served in that role until the end of 2017. During the case, he led the strategy and briefing that resulted in a ruling that California law would apply to all claims of the plaintiffs throughout the United States. The plaintiffs alleged anticompetive conduct, in which Qualcomm skewed standard essential patent licensing negotiation to benefit Qualcomm and harm its modem chip competitors. In re: Qualcomm Antitrust Litigation, 5-17-md-02773 (N.D. Cal., filed April 6, 2017).
Williams also played a major role in a sales practices and antitrust litigation with EpiPen marketing. He was a member of the plaintiff steering committee, which challenged Mylan N.V. and Sanofi S.A. for price-gouging in the market for its livesaving EpiPen product, the auto-injector to counter severe allergic reactions. The defendants raised their prices by 500 percent since 2009. In re: EpiPen Marketing, Sales Practices and Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 2785, 17-md-02785-DDC-TJJ (D. Kan., filed Mar. 9, 2018).
(Reporting by Matt Sanderson)