The Antitrust Review of the Americas 2015

US: Private Antitrust Litigation - Class Actions

22 August 2014

The marriage of private treble damages antitrust actions and the class action device has traditionally been a powerful weapon to force settlements. With just one purchaser, plaintiffs could sue for three times the alleged overcharge to all purchasers. This created enormous economic incentives for plaintiffs’ attorneys to bring these cases even in circumstances where proof of a cartel or monopoly was less than clear. Once a class was certified, few defendants could take the enormous risk of going to trial for class wide damages or even being the last defendant to settle. Antitrust class actions almost always resolved through settlements and often early.