On June 24, 2019, the Honorable Brian M. Cogan, United States District Judge for the Eastern District of New York, granted final approval to an $80 million settlement between Plaintiffs, a proposed class of dental practices and dental laboratories, and Defendants, Henry Schein, Inc., Patterson Companies, Inc., and Benco Dental Supply Company – three of the biggest dental supply companies in the United States. Plaintiffs had charged Defendants with colluding to fix prices on crowns, numbing agents, X-ray accessories and other products in this putative antitrust class action.
In approving the settlement and fee application, Judge Cogan stated, “This is a substantial recovery that has the deterrent effect that class actions are supposed to have, and I think it was done because we had really good Plaintiffs’ Lawyers in this case who were running it. . . . The class reaction, as I have alluded to, also strikes me of weighing in favor of approving settlement. Notice to 200,000 class members, four opt-outs, you know, that is about as good as it gets.”
In February 2016, Cohen Milstein was appointed as co-lead counsel in this high-profile case. Richard A. Koffman leads this case on behalf of the firm.
Filed in March 2016, the consolidated putative class action alleged that Defendants Henry Schein, Inc., Patterson Companies, Inc., and Benco Dental Supply Company – the three largest dental supply and dental equipment distributors in the United States – fixed price margins on dental supplies, jointly pressured manufacturers to squeeze out competitors, and agreed not to “poach” each other’s employees, in violation of federal antitrust law. As a result of the alleged conspiracy, dental practices and dental laboratories may have paid artificially inflated prices for many kinds of dental supplies and dental equipment, from consumables like gauze and cement to big-ticket equipment like chairs and x-rays.
In September 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York denied the Defendants’ motion to dismiss the case.