On September 30, 2009, Judge Richard Berman of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York granted summary judgment in favor of Compass Lexecon’s client Del Monte in the Fresh Del Monte Pineapples Antitrust Litigation. Plaintiffs claimed that Del Monte had created a monopoly for extra sweet whole pineapples by improperly using its claimed patent rights over a particular strain of pineapples to exclude potential entrants from the market. Dennis Carlton of Compass Lexecon was Del Monte’s expert on damages. Bradley Reiff of Compass Lexecon was Del Monte’s expert on indirect purchasers’ class certification.
Plaintiffs brought the action on behalf of two classes, direct purchasers (defined as retailers and wholesalers that purchased pineapples directly from Del Monte) and indirect purchasers (defined as consumers of pineapples purchased from retailers). Del Monte contested certification of the indirect purchasers’ class, but not the direct purchasers’ class. In an earlier ruling, dated February 20, 2008, Judge Berman rejected certification of the indirect purchasers’ class largely on the grounds that Plaintiffs’ expert failed to show pass-through of the alleged overcharge from direct purchasers to indirect purchasers. The Court’s opinion relied heavily on the analysis of Dr. Reiff. Plaintiffs subsequently filed similar indirect purchaser class actions in California and Florida. In a decision on August 20, 2009, the Superior Court of California rejected certification of the indirect purchasers’ class, also relying on Dr. Reiff’s analysis.
In the September 30, 2009 summary judgment ruling, Judge Berman rejected the testimony of Plaintiffs’ expert regarding relevant market definition. Compass Lexecon assisted David Barrett, Carl Goldfarb, Stuart Singer and Carlos Sires of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP in preparation of Del Monte’s summary judgment motions.