Beck Redden Assists in Securing Landmark Antitrust Victory in Fifth Circuit

  • December 7, 2016

On December 2, 2016, Beck Redden LLP joined in securing a significant antitrust victory for global medical technology company Becton Dickinson & Company (BD). The landmark decision, by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, reversed and vacated a $340 million verdict in favor of a competitor, Retractable Technologies, Inc. (RTI).

In September 2013, the case was tried to a jury in the Eastern District of Texas.  The trial team was led by Robert Atkins from Paul, Weiss in New York, who was joined in trying the case by McKool Smith partner Sam Baxter and Beck Redden trial partner Alistair Dawson.  RTI asserted twelve antitrust claims, but BD prevailed at trial on all but one claim (attempted monopolization by means of false advertising and patent infringement).  The resulting judgment, for treble damages under the antitrust laws, totaled $340 million.

On appeal to the Fifth Circuit, Beck Redden appellate partner Russell Post worked closely with the Paul, Weiss team to develop the appellate strategy and briefing.  In the first appellate decision in recent years to squarely address whether patent infringement and false advertising can constitute anticompetitive conduct under antitrust laws, the Fifth Circuit ruled that the claim against BD was "infirm as a matter of law" and rendered judgment for BD.

Writing for the panel, U.S. Circuit Judge Edith H. Jones wrote that false advertising and patent infringement cannot be considered anticompetitive conduct. While it might harm a competitor, the panel concluded, it does not harm the competitive process.

In addition to Mr. Dawson and Mr. Post, the Beck Redden team included counsel B.D. Daniel and associate Leslie Tronche.