New York (March 1, 2016) — Susman Godfrey, a national law firm focusing exclusively on high-profile, complex litigation, yesterday secured a $244 million settlement in its federal monopolization and antitrust class action against News Corporation (News Corp). The media giant has also agreed to change its business practices regarding in-store advertising. The case, The Dial Corporation et al. v. News Corporation et al., settled on the first day of a jury trial in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The settlement brought to a close years of litigation by a class of more than 500 consumer packaged goods companies, who sued News Corp alleging it monopolizes the U.S. market for in-store promotion services such as at-shelf coupon dispensers, promotional signs, and other in-store promotions. Lead plaintiffs included the Kraft Heinz Foods Company, The Dial Corporation, Henkel Consumer Goods Inc., Smithfield Foods Inc., Foster Poultry Farms, HP Hood, and BEF Foods, Inc.
“We are pleased by this result for our clients, particularly because monopolization cases are rarely brought, even by the government, due to a high burden of proof,” said Jim Southwick, Susman Godfrey’s lead attorney on the case. “This settlement is the result of a determined group of clients who believed in the essential role private enforcement has in ensuring companies with market dominance do not abuse their position.”
“It is gratifying to have played a leading role in securing justice for our clients in this complex, high-stakes matter,” said Susman Godfrey partner Richard W. Hess, who also served on the trial team. “On our clients’ behalf, we worked to achieve real, lasting change that will make the in-store advertising market more fair to all.”
The News Corp settlement is the latest in a series of recent victories for Susman Godfrey in complex, high-profile class actions, including Barclay’s LIBOR matter which secured $120 for clients; 2015’s Jeffrey Schulein et al v. Petroleum Development Corporation; which achieved $37.5 million for claimants; 2015’s Phoenix Insurance case paid $48.5 million in cash plus other benefits to plaintiffs; and 2014’s Automotive Parts Antitrust Litigation which continues to see awards paid out to plaintiffs with the latest figure being $186 million.
In addition to Southwick and Hess, Susman Godfrey attorneys on the case include Ryan Caughey and Jonathan Ross. Susman Godfrey is lead counsel for the class along with Kellogg Huber Hansen Todd Evan & Figel PLLC. Additional plaintiffs’ counsel firms contributing to the result are McKool Smith, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, and Berry Law PLLC.
Southwick is available for media interviews.