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Mulcahy LLP Newsletter

The Mulcahy LLP Newsletter is a publication providing news, updates and analysis on Ninth Circuit and California law as it pertains to antitrust, unfair competition, distribution and franchising.


Ninth Circuit Dismisses Robinson-Patman and Sherman Act Claims, Stating: "We Must Return This Capitalist Rumble to The Forum Where it Belongs: The Market."

James MulcahyAntitrust lawyers well know that price discrimination claims under the Robinson-Patman Act (RPA) can be very difficult to win.

For example, going as far back as 1953, the Supreme Court has held that there is no buyer liability under Section 2(f) unless the plaintiff (the disfavored buyer) can show the defendant (the favored buyer) knew both: (1) that it was receiving a lower price than its competitor; and (2) that there was “little likelihood” that the discriminatory prices it received were not justified by savings to the manufacturer and, therefore, did not qualify for the RPA defense. But, does a supplier’s dominant exclusive distributor’s knowledge and receipt of lower prices than its smaller multi-brand competitor-buyer imply that it has a duty to inquire of the supplier whether the favorable prices it received might be prohibited by the RPA? According to the Ninth Circuit’s July 19, 2013 decision in Gorlick Distribution Centers, LLC v. Car Sound Exhaust System, Inc., the answer now is “No” ...

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Proposed Legislation Would Harm Franchisors Doing Business In California

kevin adamsProposed amendments to the California franchise laws are quickly advancing through the State Capitol. California Senate Bill 610 and Assembly Bill 1141 were introduced this legislative session in an attempt to radically change California’s franchise laws. SB 610 has already passed though the State Senate and is just steps away from being presented to Governor Brown for signature.

If enacted, SB 610 would impose a nebulous “good faith” requirement on franchisors operating in California – providing plaintiffs’ attorneys with ammunition to attack the black and white terms of the contract as “bad-faith.” The bill would also increase damages available to franchisees and provide for one-sided attorneys’ fees. These proposed changes, among others discussed below, would likely result in increased litigation and negatively impact franchising in California.

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AT&T Mobility v. AU Optronics Extends The California Cartwright Act’s Expansive Geographical Scope

james-mulcahyAs all California antitrust lawyers know, California’s principal antitrust statute is the Cartwright Act.1 The Act “generally outlaws any combinations or agreements which restrain trade or competition or which fix or control prices.”2 And, as the California Supreme Court recently made clear, “from its inception, [the Act] has always been focused on the punishment of violators for the larger purpose of promoting free competition.

The main purpose of the antitrust laws is to protect the public from monopolies and restraints of trade, and the individual right of action for treble damages is incidental and subordinate to that main purpose.” Notably, the Act expressly provides a private cause of action for indirect purchasers of price-fixed goods.

The Cartwright Act’s Substantively Broad Scope and Effect. The California Supreme Court has repeatedly construed the Act’s boundaries very broadly in scope and effect. For example, in 1985, the Court reiterated that ...

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In This Issue

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Competition Law Specialists

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Ninth Circuit Dismisses Robinson-Patman and Sherman Act Claims, Stating: “We Must Return This Capitalist Rumble to The Forum Where it Belongs: The Market.” : By James Mulcahy

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Proposed Legislation Would Harm Franchisors Doing Business In California : By Kevin Adams

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AT&T Mobility v. AU Optronics Extends The California Cartwright Act’s Expansive Geographical Scope : By James Mulcahy

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Who We Are

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Practice Areas

Mulcahy LLP Consultation

Who We Are

Mulcahy LLP is a boutique litigation firm that provides legal services to franchisors, manufacturers and other companies in the areas of antitrust, trademark, copyright, trade secret, unfair competition, and franchise and distribution laws. Our years of hands-on experience as former General Counsels and seasoned litigators provide us with the expertise to achieve our clients' business goals.

Our primary objective is to provide our clients with the highest quality legal services with a small firm touch to efficiently and cost-effectively aid them in achieving their business goals. A true competition, franchise and distribution firm like Mulcahy LLP is a recognized expert in the industry. Our lawyers understand the relationship between litigation strategy and business needs to craft innovative solutions for our clients.

We are committed to providing every client with industry-leading legal services along with the personal attention and efficiency only available from a boutique law firm.

Based in Southern California, the firm serves clients nationally.

Practice Areas

Mulcahy LLP specializes in providing legal services to franchisors, manufacturers, distributors, and other businesses in the following areas:

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Antitrust & Trade Regulation

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Franchise Law

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Trademark, Trade Secret & Copyright Litigation

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Distribution & Manufacturer Litigation

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Unfair Competition

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Corporate Advice/Counseling


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