Global cartel investigations can be one of the most serious legal issues a company and executives can face. At best, they divert attention and resources away from a company’s core mission; at worst, they can stop a business in its tracks.
McDermott has extensive experience defending global antitrust criminal cartel investigations at every step. We help clients respond immediately to coordinated actions of regulatory and law enforcement officials around the world (including to so-called “dawn raids”). McDermott has assisted clients with Amnesty and leniency applications, successfully defended a US criminal trial, assisted clients in securing the lowest fines and has assisted individuals in reaching non-prosecutorial agreements and immune status for individuals targeted by enforcement agencies such as the US Department of Justice.
Our record of success speaks to the quality and efficiency of our representation. Among recent matters we currently represent clients in ongoing investigations in the auto parts and industrial chemicals industries by antitrust and competition authorities in the EU, the United States, Korea, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico and Canada.
Our lawyers have first-hand knowledge of agency policies and procedures, and a number have held senior positions of responsibility in several global enforcement agencies including US Department of Justice and the European Commission. We recognize that targets of cartel investigations and defendants in litigation need real-world options in a high-pressure environment. We help clients quickly investigate the facts, secure documents, ensure forensic evidence preservation when necessary, protect attorney-client privilege, and use efficient document collection and review tools to ensure that our clients are well prepared to make informed decisions.
A Japanese auto parts manufacturer in defense of investigations by the competition authorities in the EU, the United States, Korea, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico and Canada with respect to alleged anti-competitive bidding activity in the sale and supply of motor vehicle components. This investigation presented various separate criminal law violations. McDermott’s team, composed of more than 15 lawyers in the EU and United States, worked very closely together to advise this Japanese client on the defense of its interests and executives in the various jurisdictions.
In re Chocolate Confectionary Litigation (M.D. Pa.). After a lengthy, seven-year legal battle, McDermott secured summary judgment of behalf of Mars, Incorporated, in class actions on behalf of direct and indirect purchasers of chocolate candy alleging that manufacturers conspired to fix the prices at which they sold chocolate candy in the United States.
Nutrite Corp. in United States v. Nutrite Corp., a case that arose out of a criminal grand jury investigation by the DOJ’s Antitrust Division of a conspiracy to fix the price of ammonium nitrate sold in the United States, in which the company entered into a plea agreement and paid a $1.5 million fine.
A chemical corporation in a European Commission cartel investigation relating to a hydrogen peroxide case, including litigation at the Court of First Instance in Luxembourg, resulting in the total length of the alleged infringement, and accordingly, the fine, being reduced significantly. Currently representing the company in defending a follow-on damages claim brought by CDC in Germany.
A global manufacturer of private-label pasta in its involvement in Italy’s current alleged pasta cartel investigation under Article 81 of the EC Treaty, launched by the Italian Competition Authority against the main Italian pasta manufacturers.
Norsk Hydro in United States v. Norsk Hydro USA, Inc.; at the end of the grand jury investigation, persuaded the DOJ to convert the investigation to a civil case and entered into a consent decree (without admitting any wrongdoing) that imposed virtually no restrictions on our client’s future conduct.
A German graphite electrodes competitor in the graphite electrodes and carbon cathodes investigations by the DOJ and Canadian Department of Justice, including agreement of guilty pleas and payouts of more than £1 million.
Defended the company and key executives in several federal grand jury, FTC and DOJ investigations of alleged criminal and civil antitrust violations in the manufacture and sale of primary paper and paperboard products encompassing three different divisions of the client. All investigations terminated without indictment or any adverse action against the client or any of its employees. Also won a follow-on jury trial and appeal of nationwide federal suits seeking treble damages for alleged civil antitrust violations in the sale of “fine paper.”
Stora Enso in United States v. Stora Enso North America Corp., in which the jury returned a verdict of “not guilty,” bringing to a close a three and a half year investigation by the Antitrust Division of the DOJ. This is one of the few such cases to go to trial.
Two major corporations in successful representation of the smart card chips cartel investigation regarding issues in relation to leniency and parental liability. The case started with dawn raids carried out by the European Commission in 2008 and covered collusion involving microchips widely used in applications such as ID cards, telephone SIM cards, bank and payment cards or pay-TV cards. Our clients stood accused of liability for the anti-competitive conduct of their (then) joint venture. The European Commission granted our clients immunity from fines.