Landmark Cases

At Blecher Collins & Pepperman, we have handled significant litigation that has made an impact in jurisdictions across the country. Many of our landmark cases are frequently cited as authority in the antitrust province and in other areas of complex litigation.

Intentional Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage

In a case brought by Blecher Collins & Pepperman on behalf of Korea Supply Company (KSC) against the Lockheed Martin subsidiary Loral, the California Supreme Court affirmed a Court of Appeals decision allowing KSC the right to seek compensatory and punitive damages for interference with prospective business opportunities against Loral, which had received a contract to supply radar equipment allegedly secured by bribes and sexual favors in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Blecher Collins & Pepperman litigated the matter through to the California Supreme Court, and in the process, successfully established the standard for bringing a claim for tortious interference with prospective business advantage under California law. After seven years of litigation, and following a three month trial, the parties settled the case. The terms of settlement are confidential.

Price Discrimination/Unfair Competition

ABC International Traders, Inc. vs. Matsushita Electric Corp.

A wholesale distributor of telephone equipment and other electronic products, ABC International Traders asked Blecher Collins & Pepperman to represent them in a suit against Matsushita, the producer of Panasonic products, for engaging in unfair competition - giving secret unearned discounts to other distributors. ABC suffered economically because its primary competitors could buy their products at effectively lower prices. In a decision described as "stunning," the Supreme Court of California opened the way for victimized buyers in California to sue for damages against a price-discriminating seller. Beyond favorably resolving ABC's vital business problem, the ruling Blecher Collins & Pepperman obtained from the Court resulted in bringing State law into line with Federal law.

Service Monopoly

Image Technical Services, Inc. vs. Eastman Kodak Company

Blecher Collins & Pepperman represented a group of independent service companies (ISOs) in an antitrust action against Eastman Kodak, a supplier and competitor in the high volume photocopier and micrographic equipment repair business. Kodak had stopped selling the ISOs needed replacement parts, thereby freezing them out of the market and creating a service monopoly. Blecher Collins & Pepperman presented a compelling case and a San Francisco jury found that Kodak had violated Federal antitrust law. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that finding.

Monopoly Power

Syufy Enterprises adv. the Federal Government

Syufy Enterprises, a California-based owner and operator of a chain of Las Vegas, Nevada movie theatres, hired Blecher Collins & Pepperman to defend them in Federal court in San Francisco. They had been charged in a civil antitrust case by the Department of Justice with violations of anti-merger and monopoly laws, after acquiring all the first-run motion picture theatres in Las Vegas. The Government's goal was to force Syufy to give up the theatres it had purchased from former competitors. Blecher Collins & Pepperman went on to demonstrate that Syufy's acquisitions did not short circuit the play of natural market forces, and that Syufy did not have the power to exclude competition or determine prices. After trial, the Court decided in favor of Syufy Enterprises, and was affirmed on appeal in a frequently cited legal opinion.

Restraint of Trade

L.A. Coliseum vs. the NFL

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission brought Blecher Collins & Pepperman in to litigate against the National Football League (NFL), which was blocking the Raiders from relocating their NFL franchise from Oakland. In this case, the firm had to prove that the NFL's rule requiring three-quarters of the NFL's members to approve the relocation of a team into another team's territory was an unlawful restraint of trade, and therefore in violation of Federal antitrust law. In a precedent-setting decision, the Court found the NFL liable. The Raiders moved to the L.A. Coliseum, and the Coliseum Commission received $15 million. Soon after, Blecher Collins & Pepperman litigated against the National Basketball Association (NBA), enabling the Clippers to relocate their NBA team to Los Angeles from San Diego.

Stifling Competition

Handgards vs. Ethicon, Inc. (Johnson & Johnson)

Blecher Collins & Pepperman brought a successful antitrust action against Johnson & Johnson, on behalf of Handgards, a Nebraska company engaged in the manufacturing, distribution and sale of disposable plastic gloves. The suit concerned Johnson & Johnson's continued bad faith prosecution of a patent infringement suit against Handgards as an integral part of an overall plan to monopolize the industry and eliminate Handgards as a competitor in the sale of disposable gloves. The jury found Johnson & Johnson guilty, and our client recovered $19 million after two trials and two appeals. The Court established this particular behavior as a new principle of antitrust law with the case illustrating how litigation can be abused to stifle competition.

Telecommunications Litigation

National Communications Association, Inc. v. AT&T Corp.

In National Communications Association, Inc. v. AT&T Corp., 238 F.3d 124 (2d Cir. 2001), Blecher Collins & Pepperman prosecuted the only successful case against AT&T for its activities restricting long distance resellers. This case was tried to a jury in New York City in 1999. In 2000, we won a jury trial in San Francisco in the only case against an incumbent local exchange carrier for the maintenance of its monopoly by excluding potential competitors, CalTech International Telecom Corporation v. Pacific Bell, Case No. C 97-2105, Northern District of California.

Equipment Monopoly

ITT vs. GTE & AT&T

In the early 1970's, AT&T and GTE were the two basic telephone companies. ITT hired Blecher Collins & Pepperman to represent them in separate suits against these giants, to break up their powerful monopoly in the telephone equipment and service business in the United States. The suits were successful, and private antitrust cases became the trailblazer for the wider, Government-led effort that followed, challenging the entrenched telecommunications monopolies.