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Vitamin CIn re: Vitamin C Antitrust Litigation
Master File 1:06-MD-1738 (BMC)(JO), U.S.D.C., Eastern District of New York May 2014
Hausfeld LLP represents direct purchaser plaintiffs in the first antitrust case in the United States against Chinese manufacturers. The plaintiffs allege that Chinese pharmaceutical companies Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., Jiangsu Jiangshan Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., JSPC America, Inc., Northeast Pharmaceutical (Group) Co. Ltd., Weisheng Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., Shijiazhuang Pharmaceutical (USA), Inc., and China Pharmaceutical Group Ltd. conspired to fix prices and control export output of Vitamin C from December 1, 2001 to the present.
On March 14, 2013, District Court Judge Brian M. Cogan entered a judgment in favor of direct purchaser class plaintiffs against Hebei Welcome and North China Pharmaceutical Group. Over the course of a three week jury trial, Hausfeld attorneys and their co-counsel, on behalf of class plaintiffs, presented evidence that Chinese vitamin C manufacturers had met and agreed to fix the price and limit the supply of vitamin C sold to distributors in the United States. The manufacturers presented an affirmative defense of foreign sovereign compulsion, attempting to persuade the jury that the Chinese government had compelled them to meet and reach these agreements. Just before closing arguments, defendants Weisheng Pharmaceutical and China Pharmaceutical Group agreed to settle, and to pay class members $22.5 million. Days later, the jury reached a verdict against the remaining defendants, rejecting their foreign sovereign compulsion defense, and finding that the class had suffered damages of $54.1 million as a result of defendants’ actions over the course of the conspiracy. Judge Cogan entered a judgment for $153.3 million, trebling these damages under the Sherman Act (and subtracting the amount already paid in settlements with other defendants).
Notably, these results were achieved strictly by lawyers in the private bar; no case was brought by the U.S. Department of Justice. And the settlements reached in this case were the first civil settlements with Chinese companies in a U.S. antitrust cartel case. As China’s economic clout expands exponentially, the results of this case have wide implications in the global marketplace.
Antitrust Suit Proceeds Against Chinese Vitamin C Makers http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202425997056
Antitrust Case Against Chinese Manufacturers of Vitamin C Moves Forward http://www.law.com/jsp/tal/digestTAL.jsp?id=1196279893783
Practice Areas: Antitrust / Competition