On October 25, 2018, Judge Jan E. DuBois of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted final approval to Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics Inc.'s $19.5 million settlement to resolve allegations that the former Johnson & Johnson unit conspired with another company to fix prices on the reagents used in blood tests. The court had previously denied in part defendant’s motion for summary judgment, concluding that plaintiffs’ evidence raised a genuine dispute of material fact of price fixing and fraudulent concealment, thereby allowing plaintiffs’ claims to proceed to trial.
Ortho-Clinical's $19.5 million settlement and Immucor’s prior $22 million settlement brings the total recovery on behalf of the Direct Purchaser Class to $41.5 million.
This multidistrict litigation consolidated 33 separate civil antitrust actions. Plaintiffs, purchasers of traditional blood reagents (TBRs), alleged that defendants Ortho and Immucor, Inc., the two leading producers of blood reagents, conspired to raise prices on TBRs three times during the class period.
Specifically, plaintiffs alleged that defendants participated in an unlawful horizontal price-fixing agreement, resulting in more than $650 million in market overcharges to plaintiffs and class members.
Plaintiffs began to file civil lawsuits against Ortho and Immucor in 2009, shortly after the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice opened a criminal grand jury investigation into blood reagents pricing. In August 2009, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transferred 23 of those cases to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for coordinated pretrial proceedings (another 10 cases had originally been filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania). On December 23, 2009, the court consolidated the 33 cases.
Plaintiffs filed their motion for class certification on September 16, 2011, which was subsequently granted. The following year, on September 6, 2012, the court granted final approval of a $22 million settlement with Immucor, leaving Ortho as the sole defendant.
Trial had been set for June 4, 2018, with Sharon K. Robertson serving as one of three trial counsel for the direct purchaser class; however, the parties reached a settlement only days prior to the commencement of trial. Ortho-Clinical's $19.5 million settlement and Immucor’s $22 million settlement brought the total recovery to $41.5 million.
The case is styled: In re Blood Reagents Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 2081, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania