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Contact Lenses

Related Lawyers: Christopher L. Lebsock, Michael P. Lehmann, James J. Pizzirusso, Bonny E. Sweeney, Nathaniel C. Giddings, Jeanette Bayoumi
Related Practice Areas: Antitrust / Competition, Deceptive Business Practices and Consumer Protection

On March 3, 2015, Hausfeld filed the first consumer class action lawsuit under federal antitrust laws and California and Maryland antitrust and consumer protection laws in this consolidated litigation, on behalf of a class of end-user purchasers of certain disposable contact lenses manufactured by the four leading domestic producers—Johnson & Johnson Vision Care (“JJVC”), Alcon, Bausch & Lomb and CooperVision. 

Hausfeld serves as co-lead counsel for consumers who purchased disposable contact lenses subject to these so-called UPPs. The consumers allege that the manufacturers, together with the dominant distributor of contact lenses in the United States, ABB Optical Group, entered into agreements to adopt, implement, and enforce these UPPs in violation of federal and state antitrust laws. The consumers further allege that they paid higher prices for their contact lenses as a result of the UPPs.

Plaintiffs have thus far reached settlements with three defendants in the case: Bausch & Lomb, CooperVision, and ABB Optical Group. More information about these settlements is available at www.ContactLensSettlement.com.

Plaintiffs have repeatedly prevailed in the case. On June 16, 2016, the court overseeing the litigation denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss; on December 4, 2018, the court certified litigation classes of consumers who purchased contact lenses subject to UPPs; and on November 27, 2019, the Court denied the defendants’ four motions for summary judgment, noting as follows:

The Court finds Plaintiffs have produced satisfactory evidence supporting their position that Defendants had a conscious commitment to a common scheme designed to achieve an unlawful objective.  There is evidence that the UPPs were instituted pursuant to coordinated pressure exerted by certain ECPs and ABB, the manufacturers sought agreement regarding the UPPs and the Defendants jointly policed the pricing policies.  Plaintiffs have also proffered ample evidence of potential or actual anticompetitive market effects, demonstrated the alleged conspiracy was economically reasonable and substantiated their allegation that the UPPs imposed an unreasonable restraint on competition with no pro-competitive benefit.

                                                                                 ***

Finally, the Court finds that Plaintiffs have done more than show conduct that is as consistent with lawful competition as it is with an illicit conspiracy; weighing the competing inferences, it is reasonable for a jury to find Defendants were engaged in an illicit price fixing.

Plaintiffs anticipate that the case will shortly proceed to trial.

Supporting Documents

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