Berger Montague Named 2019 Elite Trial Lawyers; Eric L. Cramer Honored With 2019 Keith Givens Visionary Award
PHILADELPHIA, July 25, 2019 – Berger Montague is proud to announce that the Firm has been named 2019 Elite Trial Lawyers by The National Law Journal in two award categories: “Antitrust” and “Pharmaceutical Litigation.” The Firm was also recognized as finalists in two other categories: “Consumer Protection” and “Product Liability.” In addition, Firm Chairman Eric L. Cramer received the 2019 Keith Givens Visionary Award.
The winners were announced at the Elite Trial Lawyers Awards Reception on July 18, 2019, at Lotte New York Palace in New York City. During the reception, Mr. Cramer was presented with the Keith Givens Visionary Award, which was developed to honor an outstanding trial lawyer who has moved the industry forward through his or her work within the legal industry ecosystem, demonstrating excellence in all aspects of work from client advocacy to peer education and mentoring.
The Firm won the “Antitrust” and “Pharmaceutical Litigation” Elite Trial Lawyers categories due to its exceptional work in those legal areas over the last 18 months. One of the biggest successes was the preliminary approval of the landmark settlement of Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation, a case in which the Firm has served as co-lead counsel since the case was filed in 2005 on behalf of a class of thousands of merchants throughout the United States.
The lawsuit alleges that merchants paid excessive fees to accept Visa and MasterCard cards because the payment cards, individually and together with their respective member banks, violated the antitrust laws. The challenged conduct includes the collective fixing of interchange fees and adoption of rules that hindered any competitive pressure by merchants to reduce those fees. In September 2018, Visa and MasterCard agreed to pay between $5.56 billion and $6.26 billion to settle the case, which is the largest-ever class action settlement of an antitrust case. The settlement received preliminary approval in January 2019.
Another huge success was settling In re Domestic Drywall Antitrust Litigation for $190.7 million after several years of hard-fought litigation. The Firm served as co-lead counsel on behalf of a class of direct purchasers of drywall in a case alleging that the dominant manufacturers of drywall engaged in a conspiracy to fix drywall prices in the U.S. and abolish the industry’s long-standing practice of limiting price increases for the duration of a construction project.
In June 2019, an $80 million settlement received final approval in In re Dental Supplies Antitrust Litigation, a suit brought against the three largest distributors of dental supplies in the United States. The Firm served as co-lead counsel for a class of dental practices and dental laboratories. 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. Plaintiffs also claimed that the defendants colluded to boycott and pressure dental manufacturers, dental distributors, and state dental associations that did business with the defendants’ lower-priced rivals. Because of this conduct, plaintiffs claimed that they were overcharged on dental supplies and equipment.
One of the Firm’s recent successful pharmaceutical cases is In re Lidoderm Antitrust Litigation, in which Berger Montague served as counsel for a class of direct purchasers of brand and generic Lidoderm. Plaintiffs alleged that the defendants entered an agreement not to sell generic versions of Lidoderm, in violation of the Sherman Act. The direct purchasers alleged that they were overcharged for Lidoderm because of the delay in availability of less expensive, generic versions of the drug. The class received $166 million in settlements, which received final approval in September 2018.
In In re Celebrex (Celecoxib) Antitrust Litigation, the Firm served as counsel for a class of direct purchasers of brand and generic Celebrex. Plaintiffs alleged that Pfizer violated federal antitrust laws by improperly obtaining a patent for Celebrex from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in a scheme to unlawfully extend patent protection and delay market entry of generic versions of Celebrex. After more than three years of litigation, the case settled for $94 million, which received final approval in April 2018.
Finally, the Firm served as co-lead counsel representing a class of direct purchasers of brand and generic Solodyn in In re Solodyn (Minocycline Hydrochloride) Antitrust Litigation. Plaintiffs alleged that the defendants entered into agreements not to compete in the market for Solodyn and its generic equivalents, in violation of the Sherman Act, resulting in the class paying overcharge damages. After more than four years of litigation and on the eve of trial, the class settled with the last remaining defendant. In total, the class received more than $76 million in settlements, and the last two settlements received final approval in July 2018.
Berger Montague is a national complex and commercial litigation powerhouse headquartered in Philadelphia with offices in Minneapolis, MN; Washington, DC; and San Diego, CA. The Firm litigates complex civil cases and class actions in federal and state courts throughout the United States. In nearly 50 years of operation, the Firm has pioneered the use of class actions in antitrust, securities, and other litigation to recover over $30 billion.