GCR 100 - 18th Edition

O'Melveny & Myers LLP

17 January 2018

United States: California

Bo Pearl and Ken O’Rourke lead the West Coast antitrust practice at O’MELVENY & MYERS. Their team, while on the small side, benefits from working across offices – including an outstanding antitrust group in Washington, DC – on a variety of issues, and an impressive local client base.

Last year, the O’Melveny team counselled US Airways, now merged with American Airlines, in its ongoing suit against Sabre, one of the world’s largest global distribution systems. Century City-based partner Chuck Diamond led the way for the California team in the matter, which in December 2016 secured a US$15.3 million jury verdict for the airline that is now on appeal. The firm is also active for Health Care Service Corporation – an independent licensee of Blue Cross Blue Shield – in two antitrust lawsuits alleging that the insurance company’s business model entails market allocation and that it conspired to suppress reimbursement rates. The firm also acts for NextEra Energy in a lawsuit alleging the company conspired to monopolise the energy market in Hawaii.

United States: New York

O’MELVENY & MYERS remains a litigation hotspot led by Andrew Frackman. The two-partner, three-associate team represents US Airways – now merged with American Airlines – in its antitrust lawsuit against Sabre, which accuses the airfare distribution system of forcing airlines to sign financially oppressive contracts and conspiring with other travel bookings services to tamp competition in the market. In December 2016, a New York federal jury found in US Airways’ favour, awarding the airline US$15.3 million; Sabre has appealed.

Partner Mark Racanelli represents clients in criminal investigations; the most significant current matter is for Bumble Bee, which has agreed to plead guilty in the DOJ’s probe of the tuna industry. He also provides counselling to many companies under the law firm’s flat-monthly-fee system, giving clients unlimited access to the firm across a range of white-collar issues.

United States: Washington, DC

O’Melveny & Myers continues to have one of the leading practices in Washington, DC, with a strong set of cases over the past couple of years and Richard G Parker universally acclaimed as a strong lawyer. Ian Simmons calls a US$5 million jury verdict for American Airlines over global distribution system Sabre – trebled to US$15 million – a “seminal result” against elite law firms including Cleary Gottlieb and Cravath Swaine & Moore. The firm also handled work in other high-profile cases, including Parker leading the litigation effort against the Antitrust Division for Halliburton’s proposed acquisition of Baker Hughes, which was ultimately abandoned before trial; and, along with partners Ted Hassi and Katrina Robson, representing Humana in its now-abandoned health insurance merger with Aetna. Despite being on the losing side of that litigation, the firm continues to fight hard against the government.

O’Melveny’s string of successes includes negotiating the consent decree that helped Alaska Airlines close its acquisition of Virgin America, a deal that the lawyers for the merging companies stressed would lead to a stronger competitor to the “big four” of Delta, American, Southwest and United. And lawyers at O’Melveny filed a rare competitor lawsuit for Honeywell in New Jersey earlier in 2017 to try to stop Alarm.com’s acquisition of assets from iControl, which led to a confidential settlement. The DC team represents technology giant Samsung and laboratory services company Quest Diagnostics before enforcers around the world. While the New York office negotiated a large cut in the fine on Bumble Bee Foods in the canned tuna cartel, Hassi defends the seafood company in follow-on litigation.

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