Compass Lexecon Client Plantronics Wins Jury Victory in Antitrust Case
After deliberating for less than one hour, a jury cleared Compass Lexecon's client, headset manufacturer Plantronics, on all counts in an antitrust suit filed five years ago by competitor GN Netcom, maker of the Jabra brand of headsets.
GN alleged certain Plantronics business arrangements violated antitrust law by prohibiting Plantronics dealers from purchasing directly from, or actively promoting the headsets of, a competing manufacturer. At trial, GN sought damages of more than $600 million (after trebling). In response, Plantronics contended that its business agreements promoted competition, benefitted customers, and did not substantially foreclose competition.
Compass Lexecon experts Professor Richard Gilbert and Dr. James Ratliff testified at trial on behalf of Plantronics regarding liability and causation/damages, respectively. Professor Gilbert explained to the jury the procompetitive role of Plantronics' business arrangements in building a distribution network, and rebutted Plaintiff's expert's expansive theory of foreclosure. Dr. Ratliff criticized Plaintiff's expert for failing to show harm to GN itself as well as describing fundamental flaws in Plaintiff's damages model.
Plantronics was represented by Russell Hayman, Jon Dean, Rita J. Yoon, and Sarah Walters of McDermott Will & Emery LLP; Jonathan M. Jacobson and Chul Pak of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati LLP; and Jack B. Blumenfeld and Jennifer Ying of Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP. Professor Gilbert and Dr. Ratliff were supported by a team in Compass Lexecon's Oakland office that included Kun Huang, Kelvin Huang, Taylor Hines, Alison Ge, Kiana Ocean, and Nathan Hyatt.