United States: New York
Big-ticket merger work, criminal cartel investigations and civil antitrust litigation are the three pillars of CROWELL & MORING’s workload, say joint practice leaders Olivier Antoine and Dan Zelenko. The New York practice counsels those involved in ongoing criminal investigations – auto parts, resistors, Libor and Forex – and plays a key role in major litigation matters, including ongoing representation of DuPont, DaVita, Target and Viewsonic.
The small New York antitrust group has assisted on some of the biggest and most controversial deals of the past year. It was part of the core team that obtained DoJ clearance for AT&T’s US$67 billion acquisition of DirecTV, and supported the DC office in representing foodservice company Shamrock Foods in its opposition to the proposed Sysco/US Foods merger – a deal ultimately enjoined and abandoned. Partner Olivier Antoine advised on antitrust aspects of Siemens AG’s sale of its hearing-aid business to investment company EQT and the Strüngmann family for US$2.7 billion, and of its healthcare IT business to Cerner.
United States: Washington DC
The headcount and faces in Randy Smith’s team at Crowell & Moring have changed over the past year or so as lawyers hop in and out of government. The firm has picked up Baker & McKenzie partner Katie Funk to strengthen the firm’s already-leading health-care and antitrust practice, and added IP expert Lisa Kimmel from the FTC, but has also lost people, including litigator David Laing, who is now senior trial counsel at the FTC. That the revolving door is so well oiled at this firm is clearly a sign, though, of the esteem in which its lawyers are held by government staff.
Smith is proud that the DC practice regularly wins top-tier antitrust work without any real corporate practice to feed it. It’s down, he says, to understanding the highly regulated sectors in which clients operate. Companies in the hospital, health insurance, defence and telecoms industries regularly pick Crowell lawyers for merger control. Smith often handles AT&T’s biggest antitrust matters, for instance, and is lead counsel right now on the DirecTV merger. In healthcare, Crowell represents CareFusion in its US$12.2 billion sale to medical device rival Becton Dickinson and Siemens in the sale of multiple healthcare businesses. The team also distinguishes itself in litigation by having an active recovery (translation: plaintiffs’ side) practice. Its entrepreneurial and risky work seems to be flourishing. Target and Motorola Mobility have both tapped Crowell DC lawyers to win back money from price-fixing suppliers, the latter in a high-profile case that could reach the Supreme Court.
United States: California
The California-based antitrust group at Crowell & Moring is one of the most remarkable in the state. Over the years, the practice has found its niche splitting its time between defence and plaintiffs matters, leading for major opt-out clients in some of the top antitrust litigation matters in the country. The firm calls its opt-out plaintiff work “recovery litigation”, and says it has become a source of success for the practice. “We have a plaintiff’s heart, and we know how to run plaintiffs’ cases,” says Beatrice Nguyen, a partner in the firm’s San Francisco office. Daniel Sasse leads the group from Orange County.
The firm’s book of work is thick. On the opt-out side of the practice, the firm is acting for Motorola in the LCD case that is now at the Supreme Court because of FTAIA issues. Overall, the firm has eight clients who opted out of the larger multi-district LCD case, including Sears, Target, Radio Shack and others. In cathode ray tubes, the team is acting for Target and Viewsonic and preparing for trial in early March. General Motors is the Crowell client opting out of the polyurethane foam class action, and Hewlett Packard has turned to Crowell to help it sue the alleged optical disk drive cartel members. Elsewhere, the firm acted for PeopleBrowsr in its very public unfair competition spat with Twitter, and it helped DuPont see its way out of a monopolisation lawsuit.