Dental Supplies Antitrust Litigation
Berger Montague served as co-lead counsel for a class of dental practices and dental laboratories in a suit brought against Henry Schein, Inc., Patterson Companies, Inc., and Benco Dental Supply Company, the three largest distributors of dental supplies in the United States.
About the lawsuit
The suit alleged that the defendants, who collectively control close to 90 percent of the dental supplies and equipment distribution market, conspired to restrain trade and fix prices at anticompetitive levels, in violation of the Sherman Act.
In furtherance of the conspiracy, the defendants colluded to boycott and pressure dental manufacturers, dental distributors, and state dental associations that did business with or considered doing business with the defendants’ lower-priced rivals. By foreclosing these rivals’ access to key market participants, the defendants were able to stifle competition and impair their rivals.
The defendants also adopted nearly identical pricing and compensation policies, adopted policies limiting their ability to hire each other’s sales representatives, and exchanged pricing information to preserve and monitor their cartelized prices. The suit claimed that as a result of the defendants’ anticompetitive conduct, members of the class were overcharged on dental supplies and equipment.
On September 28, 2016, the Court denied a motion to dismiss brought by defendants Henry Schein, Inc., Patterson Companies, Inc., and Benco Dental Supply Company, and ruled that the case could proceed. A copy of the court’s opinion is here.
On January 9, 2019, the Court preliminary approval of an settlement agreement of $80 million. The settlement received final approval on June 24, 2019.
During the June 24, 2019 Fairness Hearing, Judge Brian M. Cogan praised class counsel, stating:
“This is a substantial recovery that has the deterrent effect that class actions are supposed to have, and I think it was done because we had really good Plaintiffs’ lawyers in this case who were running it.”
Lead Attorneys: Eric L. Cramer, Patrick F. Madden and Josh Ripley