BSF Wins Historic Verdict in Antitrust Case against Chinese Vitamin C Cartel
In the first-ever antitrust trial against Chinese companies held in the United States, Boies, Schiller & Flexner won a $54.1 million verdict – subject to trebling -- on March 14, 2013, in the Eastern District of New York. The eight-person jury deliberated for just half a day before finding the companies liable for fixing prices and limiting supply of vitamin C in the U.S. Later that day, Judge Cogan entered final judgment of $162.3 million in damages for the class of American buyers and distributors represented by the Firm.
During opening arguments in this historic nine-day trial, BSF partner William Isaacson told the court that the Chinese vitamin C manufacturers “struck a blow at our free enterprise system” by colluding to fix prices and limit production. The companies’ main defense was an unusual one: that the Chinese government mandated their conduct.
As Mr. Isaacson told The Wall Street Journal, “This verdict shows that companies in China are going to have to play by the same rules as everybody else.”
The landmark decision comes after BSF negotiated a settlement with one defendant, in May 2012, for $10.5 million. This marked the first time a Chinese company was called to task for U.S. civil antitrust claims and the first settlement of its kind. Two more defendants settled on the tail end of the trial, shortly before closing arguments, for $22.5 million.
The trial team was led by William Isaacson and included partners Tanya Chutkan and counsel Jennifer Milici. Partner Alanna Rutherford and senior attorney Melissa Willett also contributed.
Please follow the below links for media coverage of the verdict.
American Lawyer's Litigation Daily, March 21, 2013
Litigator of the Week: William Isaacson of Boies, Schiller & Flexner
Reuters, March 18, 2013
Q&A: William Isaacson on winning trial vs Chinese vitamin C companies
Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2013
Chinese Vitamin-C Suppliers Found Liable for Price-Fixing
New York Times, March 15, 2013
U.S. Court Fines Chinese Vitamin C Makers
American Lawyer's Litigation Daily, March 14, 2013
Vitamin C Buyers Win Price-Fixing Trial Against Chinese Companies
Reuters, March 14, 2013
Chinese vitamin C maker hit with $162 mln judgment in price-fixing case
Bloomberg, March 14, 2013
Chinese Vitamin C Makers Fixed Prices, U.S. Jury Says
Law360, March 14, 2013
Jury Finds Chinese Vitamin C Makers Fixed Prices