Daimler, Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz In re New Motor Vehicles Canadian Export Antitrust Litigation Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP won a major appellate victory for various U.S. and Canadian Chrysler entities and Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC before the First Circuit Court of Appeals, which dismissed federal injunctive claims and vacated and remanded certification of a damages class consisting of millions of consumers who purchased new motor vehicles. Plaintiffs filed over 100 lawsuits in various state and federal courts beginning in 2003 against number automobile companies alleging that many of the major automobile manufacturers illegally conspired to prevent new vehicles destined for the Canadian market from entering the United States, with the alleged effect of raising new motor vehicle prices in the U.S. This ongoing action is one the largest antitrust class actions in the U.S. with alleged damages of approximately $3 billion. The federal claims were consolidated by the Multi-District Litigation Panel before Judge D. Brock Hornby of the United States District of Maine. In 2006, Judge Hornby certified an injunctive class of new motor vehicle purchasers under the federal Clayton Act. At the same time, Judge Hornby also certified a damages class of new motor vehicle purchasers under the state laws of 23 states, after Weil Gotshal had successfully argued for the dismissal of federal damages claims in 2004. Upon interlocutory appeal of class certification, the First Circuit Court of Appeals found no continuing basis for the injunctive claim and dismissed it, consequently calling into the question the federal court’s subject matter jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims and its personal jurisdiction over the Canadian entities. The First Circuit went on to vacate the certified state damages class, and remanded it to the district court for a more thorough inquiry into the plaintiffs’ theory of antitrust impact, assuming the district court finds a jurisdictional basis by which to keep the remaining claims before it.
Shell Oil Company Oil Industry Salary Exchange Litigation Lead counsel for Shell Oil Company in multi-district putative class action against major oil companies that alleges the defendants exchanged information relating to salaries paid to employees with the effect of lowering salaries in violation of the Sherman Act. Two separate motions for class certification have been defeated. The litigation continues on an individual case basis.
Bertelsmann AG Successful settlement for Bertelsmann AG in Napster copyright litigation Represented Bertelsmann AG in its successful settlement of the Napster copyright litigation. Settlement was reached in early September 2006 when as a part of Vivendi’s purchase of BMG Music Publishing Group, Bertelsmann agreed to a payment of $60 million to Universal Music Group. This settlement permitted Bertelsmann to avoid $20 billion in potential damages and no liability was admitted.