Wilkinson Stekloff Wins Two High Stakes Antitrust Cases in Two Months for Georgia-Pacific and the NFL

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Wilkinson Stekloff has won two major antitrust cases before trial for Georgia Pacific LLC and the National Football League.

On August 3, Wilkinson Stekloff won summary judgment for Georgia Pacific LLC in an antitrust class action lawsuit involving over $10 billion in claimed damages.  The court’s decision came just one day after it preliminarily approved a settlement in which Georgia Pacific’s co-defendants agreed to pay over $350 million.

Plaintiffs in this case were direct purchasers of containerboard products who claimed that Georgia Pacific and several other major containerboard producers conspired to restrict the supply of containerboard, and thus increase its price, between 2004 and 2010.   After the district court certified Plaintiffs’ proposed class, Georgia Pacific hired Wilkinson Stekloff to handle all aspects of summary judgment briefing and trial.

The Wilkinson Stekloff team, led by Beth Wilkinson, Alexandra Walsh, and Brant Bishop, developed an evidentiary record focused on Plaintiffs’ proof as to Georgia Pacific, and filed independent briefs challenging Plaintiffs’ expert witnesses and seeking summary judgment.  In June 2017, the court issued a Daubert opinion that imposed key limits on the testimony Plaintiffs’ witnesses could offer at trial, adopting several of Wilkinson Stekloff’s arguments.  Several weeks later, three of Georgia Pacific’s co-defendants entered into their settlement with Plaintiffs.  The day after preliminarily approving that settlement, the court granted summary judgment in favor of Georgia Pacific.

The case is Kleen Products LLC et al. v. International Paper Co. et al.

Just over a month earlier, Wilkinson Stekloff also won an outright victory for the NFL in a class action challenging the League’s multi-billion-dollar distributorship arrangement with DIRECTV for the Sunday Ticket package. The federal court in Los Angeles granted the NFL’s motion to dismiss all of the Plaintiffs’ claims, with prejudice, because the challenged arrangement does not violate the antitrust laws—and actually promotes consumer welfare by increasing the availability of live televised NFL games. Beth Wilkinson, Sean Eskovitz, and Lori Alvino McGill led the Wilkinson Stekloff team.

The case is In Re: National Football League’s Sunday Ticket Antitrust Litigation, Case No. 2:15-ml-02668 (C.D. Cal.).

Founded in February 2016 as a boutique trial firm, Wilkinson Stekloff has already accumulated a long list of victories for clients in high-stakes and high profile cases—both before and at trial.