Christopher J. Cormier is a Partner at Cohen Milstein and a member of the Antitrust practice group. In this role, he has tried cases and obtained settlements and judgments for his clients in excess of $1 billion. He is a member of the Antitrust practice group's New Case Committee as well as a member of the group's Client Committee. Benchmark Plaintiff has named him an Antitrust Litigation Star three consecutive years from 2013 to 2015 and Super Lawyers named him a "Rising Star" in 2016 and 2017. Mr. Cormier was one of only two Colorado Rising Stars in the field of antitrust.
Currently, Mr. Cormier is litigating the following notable matters:
Anadarko Basin Oil and Gas Lease Antitrust Litigation: Personally appointed co-lead counsel for plaintiffs in class actions alleging that Chesapeake Energy, SandRidge Energy and a former executive of both companies conspired to rig bids for leases of land held by private landowners in parts of Oklahoma and Kansas. This litigation follows the U.S. Department of Justice’s early 2016 indictment of a co-founder and former CEO of Chesapeake Energy for allegedly participating in this bid-rigging conspiracy. Plaintiffs allege that Defendants illegally conspired to stabilize and depress the price of royalty and bonus payments paid to landowners in the Anadarko Basin oil and gas province — a massive geological formation holding natural gas and oil deposits that includes large parts of Oklahoma and Kansas. Pursuant to this conspiracy, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants communicated about and agreed on prices, allocated particular geographic areas between themselves, and rigged bids for leases of land, lowering acquisition prices across the region and thereby harming the proposed class of landowners.
- Dental Supplies Antitrust Litigation: Cohen Milstein was recently appointed interim co-lead counsel for a proposed class of dental practices and dental laboratories. The case alleges 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 equipment, 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. Mr. Cormier is one of the members of the Cohen Milstein team co-leading this case.
- Ductile Iron Pipe Fittings Antitrust Litigation: Cohen Milstein, as co-lead counsel, represents a putative class of direct purchaser plaintiffs in a price-fixing case against the three largest manufacturers of ductile iron pipe fittings — McWane Inc., Sigma Corporation, and Star Pipe Products — and a monopolization case against McWane for excluding significant competition in the domestic ductile iron pipe fittings market. Settlements of greater than $17 million have been reached with all defendants.
Cast Iron Soil Pipe & Fittings Antitrust Litigation: Cohen Milstein, as co-lead counsel, represents a putative class of direct purchaser plaintiffs against the two largest soil pipe and fittings manufacturers in the country (McWane Inc. and Charlotte Pipe & Foundry) and the trade association they control (Cast Iron Soil Pipe Institute) in a lawsuit alleging that the defendants engaged in a nationwide price-fixing conspiracy. Following the completion of extensive fact discovery, he and his colleagues obtained a $30 million settlement from all defendants for the direct purchaser class in 2016. The settlement was approved by the Court in 2017.
His successes include:
Urethanes (Polyether Polyols) Antitrust Litigation: Cohen Milstein is co-lead counsel for direct purchaser plaintiffs in an antitrust class action alleging a nationwide conspiracy to fix the prices of chemicals used to make polyurethane foam, a basic component of ubiquitous everyday products such as bed mattresses, car seat cushioning and furniture cushioning. Four defendants — Bayer, BASF, Huntsman, and Lyondell — settled for a total of $139.5 million, while the case against the fifth manufacturer, Dow Chemical, went to trial. After a four-week jury trial, in which Mr. Cormier was a member of the trial team, the jury returned a $400 million verdict for the plaintiffs, which the district court trebled under federal antitrust law to more than $1 billion. This was the largest verdict in the country in 2013, as reported by the National Law Journal. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed the judgment. In early 2016, Dow ultimately settled for $835 million while the case was on appeal to the Supreme Court, bringing the total recovery to $974 million – nearly 250% of the damages found by the jury.
- Plasma-Derivative Protein Therapies Antitrust Litigation: Cohen Milstein was co-lead counsel for direct purchaser plaintiffs alleging a conspiracy to reduce the supply and increase prices of IVIG and Albumin — life-saving therapies derived from blood plasma. Mr. Cormier and his colleagues at Cohen Milstein represented named plaintiff The University of Utah Health Systems as well as the remaining class members in this matter. The defendants were CSL Ltd., CSL Behring, Baxter Healthcare and the Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association (the trade association the manufacturer defendants controlled). Mr. Cormier played an integral role in the investigation and filing of the first complaint in the country in this matter. Following numerous depositions across the globe and the filing of plaintiffs’ opening class certification motion and expert report, Mr. Cormier and his team obtained settlements with all defendants totaling $128 million.
Mr. Cormier earned a B.A. at the University of Virginia and attended American University Washington College of Law, graduating magna cum laude. He interned with the Hon. Deborah K. Chasanow, U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, and with the U.S. Department of Justice, National Criminal Enforcement Section, Antitrust Division. He is the author of numerous scholarly articles on antitrust law.