Hausfeld is court-appointed Co-Lead Counsel in a class action lawsuit on behalf of consumers who purchased contact lenses against the four leading manufacturers—Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Alcon, Bausch & Lomb, and CooperVision—and the dominant distributor, ABB Optical Group, for conspiring to keep retail prices higher. Hausfeld has obtained more than $40 million in settlements for the classes so far. More information about these settlements is available at www.ContactLensSettlement.com.
Hausfeld serves as Co-Lead Counsel for consumers who purchased disposable contact lenses subject to these so-called unilateral pricing policies (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.
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.
The multidistrict litigation is before the Honorable Harvey E. Schlesinger in the Middle District of Florida.