Benjamin D. Brown is a Partner at Cohen Milstein, and Co-Chair of the firm's Antitrust practice group. Mr. Brown, who previously served in the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice, brings to his role extensive experience leading complex litigation, particularly antitrust class actions.
Mr. Brown has been appointed by federal courts to serve as co-lead counsel or on steering committees for plaintiffs in numerous important matters, such as In re Plasma-Derivative Protein Therapies Antitrust Litigation (N.D. Ill.); Allen, et al. v. Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. (D. Vt.); and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Antitrust Litigation (D. Nv.). He has led cases through trial and argued appeals and stands ready to take cases through to the finish line.
Mr. Brown is also a leader in the area of takings cases, claims that are brought under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution for the unconstitutional taking of property without compensation. He also represents individuals or groups in litigations and confidential arbitrations involving complex commercial disputes, particularly those involving regulated markets.
Currently, Mr. Brown is litigating a number of large, complex antitrust and price manipulation lawsuits, where he plays a prominent role and leads all aspects of the litigation, from deciding on the claims to be brought, the strategy to be pursued and charting the course of the case. Notable matters include:
- Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Antitrust Litigation: Cohen Milstein is co-lead counsel in a class action on behalf of MMA fighters alleging that Zuffa LLC – commonly known as the Ultimate Fighting Championship or “UFC” – has unlawfully monopolized the markets for promoting live professional MMA bouts and for purchasing the services of professional MMA fighters. The district court denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss the case in September 2015 and discovery is ongoing. Mr. Brown is co-lead in this class action.
- Allen, et al. v. Dairy Farmers of America, Inc: Cohen Milstein served co-lead counsel in a class action lawsuit on behalf of Northeast dairy farmers against Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) and Dean Foods Company charging a conspiracy to reduce competition for raw milk and that DFA monopolized the milk market in the Northeast, forcing dairy farmers to market their milk through DFA or its affiliate Dairy Marketing Services (DMS). Final, approved settlements total $50 million.
- DairyAmerica Litigation: Cohen Milstein is sole lead counsel of a putative class of dairy farmers who allege that defendants fraudulently misreported nonfat dry milk prices to the National Agricultural Statistics service, resulting in artificially depressed raw milk prices and unfairly depriving American dairy farmers of tens or hundreds of millions of dollars. Mr. Brown directs and leads all aspects of the litigation.
Mr. Brown is also currently litigating a number of takings lawsuits, including the following notable matters:
- Ideker Farms, et al. v. United States of America: Cohen Milstein represents Ideker Farms and more than 400 other plaintiffs located in six states along the Missouri River in a landmark mass action lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims alleging that the federal government took land and flooding easements over lands owned by farmers without any compensation in violation of the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment. Mr. Brown has helped lead the litigation team, including during a months-long liability trial in 2017, during which he personally cross-examined ten witnesses, including six experts. In March 2018, the Court ruled largely in favor of plaintiffs on liability and cause of flooding claims. Bellwether trials continue. The Court will next determine the extent of the losses due to the taking.
- Big Oak Farms, Inc., et al. v. United States of America: Cohen Milstein represents a group of farmers along the Mississippi River in a Fifth Amendment takings case alleging that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers intentionally flooded plaintiffs’ land without providing just compensation. Mr. Brown has been directing and leading all aspects of the litigation.
Mr. Brown joined Cohen Milstein in 2005, following four years as a trial attorney with the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice. At the Department of Justice, Mr. Brown led and assisted in numerous investigations, litigations and trials involving antitrust activity and mergers. Mr. Brown also served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, where he prosecuted criminal cases. Prior to serving in the U.S. Department of Justice, Mr. Brown was in private practice, where he counseled defendants in antitrust litigation matters. This experience has provided him with insights into defense strategies and has earned him the respect of defendants’ counsel.
The Legal 500 has recognized Mr. Brown as one of the nation’s leading class action antitrust attorneys. Mr. Brown is also recognized in Who’s Who Legal: Thought Leaders – Competition, and he has been listed as one of Washington D.C.’s "Leading Star” Plaintiffs’ Litigators by Benchmark Litigation, recognizing his writing, his depositions and his arguments in court. He is a frequent panelist at legal industry gatherings and is a recognized expert on antitrust litigation whose opinions on the newest developments and trends in antitrust litigation are often quoted in the media. Mr. Brown is a contributing author of the ABA’s Antitrust Class Actions Handbook, and has served as a state editor for the ABA's Survey of State Class Action Law. He authored several chapters on private antitrust recovery actions for the Global Competition Review's Antitrust Review of the Americas, and co-authored with fellow partner Douglas Richards, “Predominance of Common Questions – Common Mistakes in Applying the Class Action Standard,” Rutgers Law Journal (Vol. 41).
Mr. Brown is currently serving on the Advisory Board of the Institute for Consumer Antitrust Studies at Loyola University Chicago's School of Law.
Mr. Brown attended the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa, majoring in Philosophy, and earned his J.D., from Harvard Law School, graduating cum laude. He served as Law Clerk to the Hon. Chief Judge Juan R. Torruella, U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia has honored Mr. Brown for his outstanding commitment to pro bono litigation.