Antitrust Law Source


Episode 39
Regulation of cryptocurrency

In this episode, Jay and Porter Wright attorney Brett Thornton dive into e-currency, with a focus on cryptocurrency. They start by covering the basics: what it is, the different types and the technology that facilitates the exchanges. Brett explains the rules and regulations for this currency, securities law ramifications to be aware of, and what other agencies might be involved in these types of transactions.

Episode 38
What does it take to bring foreign companies to the US?

In this episode, Jay talks to Oded Shenkar, Ford Motor Company Chair in Global Business Management and Ohio State professor, about the challenges and opportunities facing foreign businesses who wish to come to the United States. The duo talks about regulatory matters, strategic factors and how the political climate will affect a company’s decision to doing business in the United States.

Episode 37
Private equity deals

What is on the horizon for private equity deals in 2017? What does the market look like for buyers, sellers and foreign investors? Jay talks with Porter Wright M&A attorneys Bob Tannous and Jeremy Siegfried about these issues, exit strategies, Brexit and more in our most recent podcast.


Broiler chicken antitrust litigation gains momentum

As millions of Americans contemplate whether to fry, smoke or barbeque their chicken over the upcoming 4th of July holiday, the antitrust class action against our nation’s largest chicken producers—In Re Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation, No. 16-cv-8637—took a significant turn this past week, when the U.S. Department of Justice formally intervened in the multi-district private litigation originally filed in 2016.

DOJ granted leave to intervene and three-month discovery stay

The DOJ’s June 21, 2019 Motion to Intervene and Stay Discovery sought a six-month stay of both written and deposition discovery against defendants (and their current and former employees) in the ongoing civil proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in order to “protect[] the integrity of the grand jury’s investigation.” Although neither the plaintiff purchasers nor the defendant producers objected to the DOJ’s intervention request, the purchasers filed a memorandum in opposition to the DOJ’s stay request. According to the opposition, such a stay would have been unprecedented where discovery of defendants had been ongoing for more than a year, and more than 150 depositions had already been taken since October 2018.

After a June 27 hearing, Judge Durkin granted a more limited, three-month stay. Judge Durkin emphasized an interest in allowing plaintiffs to push towards a resolution by indicating that this would be the only stay he would grant. Judge Durkin also reportedly told counsel for the DOJ that after the three-month stay expired, he intended to permit plaintiffs to begin issuing discovery requests to defendants for any documents they may have turned over in response to a grand jury subpoena.

Implications for the litigation

The DOJ’s intervention marks a potentially significant milestone in the case. Unlike the many civil price fixing cases brought by private plaintiffs after a government antitrust investigation (and often after criminal indictments), the private civil case against the chicken producers was filed before the government investigation. And it has already survived defendants’ initial motions to dismiss. The DOJ’s recent decision to intervene may signal that the government now believes that serious criminal antitrust violations occurred. If the government’s investigation uncovers additional evidence against the chicken producers, it could further increase pressure on the defendants to evaluate opportunities to resolve the civil litigation in order to avoid treble damages exposure. As a result, the second half of 2019 promises to be an interesting one in the broiler chicken antitrust litigation, as the government’s investigation intensifies and potentially becomes the subject of discovery by the private plaintiffs.

If you have any questions concerning this briefing, please contact Jason Dubner.

FTC revises HSR and interlocking directorate thresholds

On Feb. 15, 2019 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced the annual changes to the notification thresholds for filings under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act (HSR), as well as certain other values under the HSR rules. As background, the HSR Act requires that acquisitions of voting securities or assets that exceed certain thresholds be disclosed to U.S. antitrust authorities for review before they can be completed. The “size-of-transaction threshold” requires that the transaction exceeds a certain value. Under certain circumstances, the parties involved also have to exceed “size-of-person thresholds.” This year’s values, which are adjusted annually based on changes in the GNP, take effect in a few weeks. The FTC also adjusted the safe harbor thresholds that govern interlocking directorates in competing companies. Continue Reading

Changes in online shopping

“In most situations, no more tax-free shopping on the internet,” our colleague Mark Snider said based upon a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. In Wayfair v. South Dakota, the court overruled two older decisions that allowed retailers to avoid collecting sales tax on customers outside of its home state and outside other states where the retailer had employees, a store, warehouse and other physical presence.

Read the full blog post at Technology Law Source.

Food & Agriculture Quarterly: March 2018

I am delighted to bring to you the second edition of Food & Agricultural Quarterly (FAQ). This industry-focused publication is designed to focus on the key issues food and agriculture industry stakeholders are facing – regardless of whether you are a small, family-owned farming operation or international food producer. This edition contains three very diverse articles that are informative and thought-provoking.

First, Emily Lane explains how agriculture is becoming ever more affected by “Big Data” and the Internet of Things (IoT). Interestingly, I recently attended the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives’ Annual Meeting, and one of the speakers discussed how the newer generation of farmers are seeking to make the most of their data and analytics. At breakfast, I discussed with California agriculture executives how their growing operations are changing due to IoT and drone technology, and they shared how they foresaw even more changes to come.

Next, we have the first in a two-part series by Will Sjoberg, one of our newest partners here at Porter Wright. He gives us a glimpse of what agriculture might look like without NAFTA, and why we should care.

Finally, Devan Flahive discusses consolidation in grain markets and how antitrust enforcement may react to pending mergers.

I am sure you will enjoy each article. As always, if there are topics of interest, please contact me and we will do our best to address them in upcoming editions. Missed the first edition? Find it here: Food & Agriculture Quarterly: October 2017.