- David Kesselman, founding partner with Kesselman Brantly Stockinger, was recently quoted in the Law360 article, “DOJ Dusts Off Criminal Antitrust Charges To Send A Message.”
The article looks at the first guilty plea in a criminal monopolization case in decades as the president of a Montana paving and asphalt contractor plead guilty to attempted monopolization charges. This case was brought under Section 2 of the Sherman Act, as opposed to the more commonly used Section 1, and is part of the DOJ continued efforts to “push antitrust enforcement into new and forgotten areas.”
Kesselman commented to Law360 that while the case is significant, it also involves allegations of a market allocation scheme, which is the type of activity that could be prosecuted under Section 1 as a criminal matter in certain circumstances. What sets this case apart from the more common Section 1 cases, he said, is that there never appears to have been an actual agreement.
“If there had been an actual agreement or conspiracy … prosecution under Section 1 in that circumstance would certainly have been within the norm,” Kesselman said. “Without an actual agreement, the government decided to prosecute the defendant under an attempted monopolization claim under Section 2.”
Read the full Law360 article here (subscription required):
https://www.law360.com/ competition/ articles/ 1546186?utm_source=shared-articles&utm_ medium=email&utm_ campaign=shared-articles
- David Kesselman, founding partner of Kesselman Brantly Stockinger, was featured on Air Talk on Southern California NPR Station KPCC 89.3FM discussing the decision to block the Penguin Random House-Simon & Schuster merger and what that could mean for authors, readers, and the future of the publishing industry.
The episode dives into a federal judge’s decision to block the merger of the publishing giants, agreeing with the DOJ that this merger could “lessen competition” for “top-selling books.” This was a victory for the Biden administration’s tougher approach to proposed mergers, and a break from decades of precedent under Democratic and Republican leadership. Penguin Random House has condemned the ruling, which it called “an unfortunate setback for readers and authors.”
Kesslman was joined in the discussion by Mike Shatzkin of the Idea Logical Company.
Listen to the full episode here:
https://www.kpcc.org/show/ airtalk/2022-11-07/ previewing-election-day-2022 -plus-local- registrars-of-voters-share- last-minute- tips -and-answer -voter-faqs
- Majed Dakak, partner with Kesselman Brantly Stockinger, was recently quoted in a Law360 article, “Noncompete Ban Tees Up 1st Test of FTC’s Rule Power.” The article discusses the FTC’s proposed rule that would federally ban noncompete agreements from employment contracts, and many are speculating this could draw legal challenges.
Dakak told Law360 he predicts the FTC can prevail over any legal challenges. The regulatory authority should be upheld “if read fairly,” Dakak said. “The FTC Act is very broad in its breadth.”
One concern regarding a ban on noncompete agreements is the risk to protecting trade secrets for higher level executives. However, Dakak noted “There’s already laws on the books,” likening noncompetes to “starting a forest fire because you’ve got one tree you want to chop down.”
You can read the full article in Law360 here: (subscription required)
https://www.law360.com/ articles/ 1563061/ noncompete-ban -tees-up -1st-test -of-ftc-s -rule-powers
- Abiel Garcia and Majed Dakak, Partners with Kesselman Brantly Stockinger, are currently representing the National Association of Immigration Judges in their ongoing litigation with the Federal Labor Relations Authority. The case, currently before a federal appeals court, involves a controversial 2020 decision by the FLRA that dissolved the union representing the nation’s corps of immigration judges.
The case was recently highlighted in Government Executive, which included Garcia’s statements during oral arguments citing now-FLRA Chairman Ernest DuBester’s dissent in the case, which accused the Republican majority of “the antithesis of reasoned decision-making” and suggested one of his dissents in the case was improperly rushed by his GOP colleagues, who were anxious to bust the union before President Biden could nominate a new Democratic member to shift the authority’s ideological balance.
“Acting in haste to deprive immigration judges of their right to a union, the majority cobbled together a decision that ignores authority and precedent covering both the review of [bargaining] unit certifications and the scope of the management official exclusion,” Garcia said.
The Government Executive article can be found here: https://www.govexec.com/ workforce/ 2022/11/ appeals-court- seems- skeptical- both- sides-immigration- judges- union- case/ 379891/
The arguments were also covered by the Daily Journal (subscription required): https://www.dailyjournal.com /articles /370000-la -county- attorneys- argue- for- immigration- judges- union
- Majed Dakak, partner with Kesselman Brantly Stockinger, was quoted in the Daily Journal article, “Relators accuse former employer of pandemic relief fraud.” The article examines the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) fraud alleged to have been committed by ManPow LLC, a nationwide real estate company. This week, a federal judge in Los Angeles denied ManPow’s motion for dismissal of the matter.Dakak represents the former employees who have brought the lawsuit against ManPow, alleging the company fraudulently applied for PPP loans even though it had no real employment expenses. The complaint states that the company “applied for and received two very low and fully forgivable Payroll Protection Program loans for a total of over $2.8 million.”“The relators here brought forth to the government’s attention the False Claim Act statute and what weʼve alleged to be a false claim being made by ManPow LLC when it applied for its two PPP loans,” Dakak told the Daily Journal.The full Daily Journal article can be found here: https://www.dailyjournal.com/ articles/ 369096-relators- accuse- former-employer -of -pandemic -relief- fraud
- Kesselman Brantly Stockinger and Solomon Law Firm PLLC achieved a significant litigation win for their client Kathryn Spletstoser this week in a decision that stands to impact millions of service men and women. On August 11, 2022, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied former US Air Force General John Hyten and the US Governments’ motion to dismiss former US Army Colonel Kathryn Spletstoser’s first amended complaint alleging Hyten sexually assaulted her.
Hyten, the defendant in this matter, was a well-known four star general in the US Air Force and former vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under the Trump and Biden administrations. He is alleged to have committed sexual assault against Ms. Spletstoser who was a decorated combat veteran and rising star in the US Army. The government moved to dismiss the case based on the Feres Doctrine, an immunity that prevents service members from filing suit against the government over injuries resulting from military service. The district court denied immunity to the US government who then appealed to the Ninth Circuit. Immunity was again denied in this case by the Ninth Circuit, with the court stating they “cannot fathom’ how the alleged sexual assault in this case could ever be considered an activity ‘incident to [military] service.”The case was highlighted in Law360: articles /1520388/ 9th- circ-allows -sex -assault- suit- against- former- generalThe case is Kathryn Spletstoser v. John Hyten,et al, case number: 20-56180
- Majed Dakak, Partner with Kesselman Brantly Stockinger, was quoted in the Daily Journal article, “Judge won’t force PGA to allow LIV players in playoffs event.”The article examines US District Judge Beth L. Freeman’s decision to deny a temporary restraining order that would have allowed LIV Golf players to play in the PGA’s FedExCup Playoffs, agreeing with the PGA that the players were aware of the potential losses resulting from their LIV contracts.The court also addressed additional issues such as whether the players’ antitrust claims had sufficient merit, whether the plaintiffs suffered irreparable harm, and whether PGAʼs policies were inappropriate and unenforceable.Dakak commented to the Daily Journal, “The Courtʼs irreparable harm analysis is consistent with established case law dealing with professional sports disputes where courts have held that the harm arising from being barred from a game or an event can be measured in the form of quantifiable monetary damages and is not sufficient to show irreparable harm.”“For example, LIV was unable to assuage the Courtʼs concerns related to LIVʼs Section 2 monopoly claim when the Court pointed out that PGA players are only bound to one year exclusive agreements and that these players could have waited to leave the PGA and join LIV at the end of their contacts term like other players did,” Dakak continued. “This Courtʼs observation regarding the one-year length of the exclusive dealings at issue here is consistent with clear 9th circuit law which has held that a one-year exclusive dealing arrangement is presumptively lawful.”Read the full Daily Journal article here: (subscription required) https://www.dailyjournal.com/ articles/ 368674-judge-won-t -force-pga-to- allow- liv-players -in- playoffs- event
- Abiel Garcia and Majed Dakak of Kesselman Brantly Stockinger are representing the union of immigration judges in the closely watched matter National Association of Immigration Judges v. FLRA. The case was recently profiled in both the Daily Journal and Law360 as the National Association of Immigration Judges has asked the D.C. Circuit to overturn the Federal Labor Relations Authority‘s decision revoking the group’s certification.Under President Trump, the DOJ announced in 2020 it would no longer recognize the union because they felt the judges were managers and therefore exempt from collective bargaining. The Federal Labor Relations Authority upheld this move, leaving the union in limbo.The National Association of Immigration Judges is fighting to reinstate the certification of the union, and in a filing on June 8, Dakak and Garcia argued on behalf of the union, “The Authority’s actions throughout the entire administrative process violate the union and its immigration judge members’ due process rights with respect to its protected liberty interest in joining a labor union.”
- KBS Prevails at the Ninth Circuit for International and Longshore Warehouse Union Local 13
April 2022 Los Angeles, CA – The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed dismissal of a lawsuit against KBS’s client, International and Longshore Warehouse Union Local 13. The plaintiff, HPEC, a development company filed suit against the ILWU, ILWU Local 13, and the City of Los Angeles for, among other things, alleged violations of the Sherman Act and the National Labor Relations Act. After securing dismissal of the claims against the ILWU and ILWU Local 13 in the district court, the Ninth Circuit affirmed in full. The Ninth Circuit found that the alleged conduct against the unions was fully protected petitioning activity under the Noerr-Pennington doctrine. KBS attorneys David Kesselman, Trevor Stockinger worked on the briefing, along with co-counsel Steve Holguin and Marisa Holguin of SR Holguin PC, with David Kesselman arguing at the Ninth Circuit. The opinion can be found here
- Kesselman Brantly & Stockinger Partner Majed Dakak and Associate Ryan Davis recently authored an article for The Recorder, “Federally Banning Non-Compete Agreements.” The article examines a possible federal ban on non-compete agreements and how this could impact hiring and strategy for businesses.
Many employees in the U.S. have in their employment contracts non-compete clauses that prohibit them from working for or starting a competing business for an amount of time after leaving their current employer. There are also often “hidden” non-competes in many overly broad employment agreements, including confidentiality clauses and non-solicitation agreements.
Whether such policies are beneficial to the economy is a hotly debated topic. Proponents say non-compete agreements reduce the risks of departing employees misusing trade secrets and other intellectual property, but opponents say non-competes prevent talent from best allocating their skills, hurting innovation.
The authors discuss the potential for a federal prohibition on non-compete agreements this year that could forge the way for more flexible worker mobility in numerous industries.
Read the full article in The Recorder here.
- Majed Dakak, Partner with Kesselman Brantly Stockinger, was recently quoted in Law.com’s Labor of Law Newsletter, “Amid Labor Shortages, More Employers Suing to Enforce Non-Competes.”
The article looks at the growing number of employers who are utilizing non-compete agreements to try to retain employees, inserting these clauses into agreements even in jurisdictions banning non-competes, and increasingly using litigation to enforce them.
Dakak commented to Law.com, “There is more to gain by litigating now than there used to be, given the shortage of supply [of employees].” He also said he has noticed an uptick in calls from employees asking if they can leave their jobs without being sued.
Dakak identified a trend accelerated by the pandemic, with employment contracts including overly broad provisions such as confidentiality or non-solicitation agreements. While these are not explicitly banned under state law, he noted that they must be analyzed to ensure they are not so overly broad that they essentially function as a non-compete.
Read the full Law.com article here. Subscription required.
- Former California Deputy Attorney General Abiel Garcia Joins Kesselman Brantly Stockinger as Partner
February 2022 Los Angeles, CA – Kesselman Brantly Stockinger LLP is pleased to announce that Abiel Garcia has joined the firm as a partner. Mr. Garcia brings with him extensive antitrust experience in a variety of industries including healthcare, pharmaceutical, telecommunications, oil and gas, and tech. Beyond his breadth of antitrust experience, Mr. Garcia brings additional expertise in conducting government and internal investigations, with a particular focus on cross border matters in Mexico, Honduras, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, and the Caribbean.
Mr. Garcia was formerly a Deputy Attorney General for the State of California Attorney General’s Office. In that position, he handled the California-specific issues in the F.T.C. v. Sysco/US Foods merger investigation and preliminary injunction hearing. He also worked on a variety of healthcare conduct investigations that included a diverse array of issues such as hospital contracting practices, physician-hospital collaborations, FDA regulatory pathways, reverse payments, product hopping, REMS abuse, and many others.
Mr. Garcia joins the firm from Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP where his practice focused on a variety of antitrust matters as well as multiple white-collar investigations in South America. While at Gibson Dunn, Mr. Garcia handled multiple internal investigations that ended in self-reporting to various government entities while also managing various stages of litigation in price-fixing and other conduct cases, as well as complex breach of contract cases. Additionally, Mr. Garcia advised clients on multiple potential mergers and helped obtain government clearance for various deals.
- Amy Brantly, Majed Dakak, David Kesselman, Trevor Stockinger named Super Lawyers in 2022
January 2022 Los Angeles, CA – In recognition of their talents and success, KBS lawyers Amy Brantly, Majed Dakak, David Kesselman, and Trevor Stockinger again have been named Super Lawyers in Southern California. The founding lawyers of the firm, whose practices include all types of complex business litigation, were recognized for their expertise in Antitrust Law by this Thomson Reuters ratings service..
- Amy Brantly and David Kesselman, co-managing partners of Kesselman Brantly Stockinger LLP, recently published an article entitled: An epic battle: the Epic Games v. Apple antitrust decision, with Reuters. The article explores Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers’ long-awaited decision in the Epic v. Apple antitrust case and its significance. The full article can be found here.
- David Kesselman, founding partner with Kesselman Brantly Stockinger LLP, was recently quoted in a Law360 article, “5 Takeaways from Friday’s Epic, Apple Ruling.”The article looks at the key takeaways from the highly anticipated ruling in the antitrust courtroom battle between Epic Games and Apple. The ruling was not a definitive win for either party, however, it does have implications for Apple’s App Store moving forward. While Judge Gonzalez Rogers did reject each of Epic’s antitrust claims; the Judge held that Apple’s anti-steering rules violate California’s unfair competition law. Based on that violation of California law, the Judge issued a nationwide injunction barring Apple from prohibiting app developers from including external links directing customers to alternative payment methods.David Kesselman commented to Law360 that he was unaware of any other court in a similar case finding no express antitrust violation but still imposing an injunction based on California’s unfair competition law..“We’ve all known it’s a theoretical possibility” under the [California Supreme Court’s] Cel-Tech decision, Kesselman said. But now it appears to be a reality the Ninth Circuit will have to deal with under a widely anticipated appeal.The full article can be found here (Law360 Subscription Required): https://www.law360.com/ commercialcontracts/ articles/ 1420893? utm_source =shared-articles& utm_medium=email& utm_campaign= shared-articles
- Chancery Club of Los Angeles Elects David Kesselman Into MembershipJune 28, 2021 – Kesselman, Brantly, Stockinger congratulates founding partner David Kesselman on his election to the Chancery Club of Los Angeles.Founded in 1925, the Chancery Club’s elected membership is composed of distinguished lawyers who are also active in professional, civic, and philanthropic organizations. Inspired in part by the example of the English Inns of court, the Chancery Club members have held positions of honor and responsibility in important legal, judicial, academic, governmental, and civic organizations..David Kesselman represents plaintiffs and defendants in complex litigation matters including, antitrust, unfair competition, business tort, copyright, class action and employment cases. He has significant trial experience and has argued cases in both federal and state appellate courts and provides antitrust counseling and compliance advice to corporations.
- Amy Brantly, founding partner of Kesselman Brantly Stockinger LLP, was recently quoted in an article on The Hill, “Facebook antitrust victory poses big test for new FTC chief.”The article looks at a federal judge’s dismissal of the antitrust lawsuit against Facebook and what this means for the new FTC Chair, Lina Khan. The FTC is closely reviewing the decision and considering options, which could include filing a new administrative proceeding.Amy Brantly told The Hill, “The downside obviously to doing that is they’ll be fighting on two fronts, and the administrative proceeding lacks some of the teeth [compared to] bringing the case in court.”Of the new FTC Chair, Lina Khan, Brantly noted that her scholarly work and time on the House panel’s investigation may not give her much of an upper hand when it comes to court cases.“As the FTC chair she’s tasked with enforcing the law and the current law is old, and is what she’s fought so long against. So how she’s going to succeed with her goals under the current legal landscape is going to be a really tough road,” Brantly said.The full article on The Hill can be found here: https://thehill.com/ policy/ technology/ 560839-facebook- antitrust- victory-poses -big-test- for-new-ftc-chief
- Majed Dakak, a founding partner of Kesselman Brantly Stockinger LLP, was interviewed by Of Counsel: The Legal Practice and Management Report, a publication for law firms and corporate law departments. The interview can be found here.
- Amy Brantly, founding partner of Kesselman Brantly Stockinger LLP, recently co-authored an article for the California Lawyers Association, “The Correlation Between Antitrust Enforcement and Gender Equality.”
The article, co-authored with Jennifer Oliver of MoginRubin LLP, examines the parallels between gender inequality and behavior from America’s dominant firms, noting that gender and competition policy are inextricably intertwined.
The full article can be found here (CLA membership required).
- Majed Dakak, founding partner of Kesselman Brantly Stockinger LLP, was recently quoted in the Law360 article, “Ex-Head Chef Says Calif. Hotel Wrongly Fired Him Over Injury.” The article provides details of a complaint filed by Kesselman Brantly Stockinger LLP and Hyun Legal APC on behalf of an employee against his former employer for disability discrimination.
The full Law360 article can be found here (subscription required).
- Amy Brantly, David Kesselman, Trevor Stockinger named Super Lawyers in 2021
February 2021 Los Angeles, CA – In recognition of their talents and success, KBS partners Amy Brantly, David Kesselman, and Trevor Stockinger again have been named Super Lawyers in Southern California. The firm founding partners, whose practices include all types of complex business litigation, were recognized for their expertise in Antitrust Law by this Thomson Reuters rating services.
- Amy Brantly, co-managing partner of Kesselman Brantly Stockinger LLP, was interviewed by Of Counsel: The Legal Practice and Management Report, a publication for law firms and corporate law departments. The interview can be found here.
- Amy Brantly, co-founding partner of Kesselman Brantly Stockinger LLP, was recently featured in the Daily Journal as one of the Top Women Lawyers of 2020.
Brantly was highlighted for her business litigation work on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants in antitrust and unfair competition lawsuits, as well as for her subspecialty litigating and consulting on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Her profile also noted that she is among one of the few within the past few years to successfully argue cases before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the Hawaii Supreme Court.
Brantly pointed out that working in a boutique firm environment suits her, stating, “I really like the atmosphere here. People are accessible and collaborative.”
She also commented, “The best part of antitrust law is that you get to learn about different industries. I go to work happy every day.”
Brantly’s full profile published in the Daily Journal’s special section: Top Women Lawyers 2020 can be found here (subscription required).
- Amy Brantly, founding partner of Kesselman Brantly Stockinger LLP, was recently quoted in the Law360 article, “Ginsburg’s Successor Likely to Back Narrow TCPA Reading.”
The article looks at the upcoming Supreme Court hearing involving Facebook and the Telephone Consumer Privacy Act (TCPA) and how the justice chosen to replace Ruth Bader Ginsberg could impact the outcome of this closely watched case.
The case, Facebook Inc. v. Duguid, is a heated dispute surrounding what actually qualifies as an autodialer under the TCPA. Many feel that her replacement would likely swing the decision to be more in favor of businesses, and nominee Amy Coney Barrett authored the Seventh Circuit’s recent ruling in Gadelhak v. AT&T Services addressing this same issue. Judge Barrett adopted a narrow reading of the kinds of dialing equipment that trigger liability under the TCPA.
According to Amy Brantly, “A court that’s full of conservatives who are textualists are probably going to side with Facebook and find the clear language of the statute requires random or sequential number generation to be used.”
The full Law360 article can be found here (subscription required).
- David Kesselman, founding partner of Kesselman Brantly Stockinger LLP, was recently quoted in the Law360 article, “More Big Tech Firms Could Show Up In DOJ’s Google Search.”
The article looks at the DOJ’s antitrust lawsuit against Google and the possible implications this case could have for other big tech companies who are also facing scrutiny on both federal and state levels. Attorneys offered mixed responses as to whether the Google complaint would lead to action against Facebook, Apple and Amazon, even as these tech giants were the focus of the House antitrust subcommittee report released in early October.
David Kesselman pointed out that the Google complaint is likely more than just a test case, citing the political and public clamor to rein in technology platforms’ market power.
“As we all know, these cases take years. Given that you have both sides of the aisle seemingly pressing … I would think that we’re going to see other cases filed in the coming months and not just waiting to see what happens with this one, because it would just be too long,” Kesselman said.
The full Law360 article can be found here (subscription required).
- David Kesselman, founding partner of Kesselman Brantly Stockinger LLP, was recently quoted in the Law360 article, “Microsoft Case Looms Over DOJ’s Google Antitrust Action.”The article examines the landmark antitrust lawsuit the DOJ brought against Google and how a similar case against Microsoft 20 years ago could impact the court’s decision in the Google matter.According to David Kesselman, Microsoft argued that its operating system and browser were part of a single platform programmed to work together, leading the court to have concerns over these technical contentions when analyzing the tying claims against Microsoft. “It was all new and innovative and it wasn’t clear how consumer demand worked in those circumstances,” Kesselman said.In the case against Google, the DOJ is employing a more traditional approach about a big company weaponizing contracts to keep the competition out. “And that’s been happening since 1890,” Kesselman said. “The underlying conduct should be pretty familiar to most antitrust practitioners.”He went on to say that it doesn’t seem like the DOJ would push to break up Google based on the conduct alleged in the complaint, but would rather accept some form of an agreement from Google to terminate the problematic contract terms.“The primary focus seems to be that they want these contract provisions to be modified or set aside to allow some of the rivals who have not been able to break through, to break through,” Kesselman said.The full Law360 article can be found here (subscription required).
- Federal Circuit Rules in Favor of KBS Client in Complex Antitrust Dispute – The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed dismissal of plaintiff Power Analytics’ lawsuit, which alleged violations of Sherman Act Section 1 and Section 2 based on allegedly exclusive agreements between defendant ETAP (KBS’s client), and defendants OSI and Schneider, respectively. The case centered on software used to design and monitor electrical power grids, including software certified for use with nuclear power plants. Trevor V. Stockinger argued before the Federal Circuit. Power Analytics asserted on appeal that the District Court applied the wrong legal theory and erred in finding it failed to adequately allege cognizable Sherman Act claims. ETAP responded that Power Analytics waived an argument under its new legal theory; substantively, it argued the District Court properly held, among other things, that the Complaint failed to adequately allege exclusive dealing arrangements and that, even had the allegations of agreement been sufficient, the agreements were part of the competitive process so that any harm to Power Analytics arose out of competition, not anticompetitive acts. The Federal Circuit agreed, finding waiver as to the Section 1 claim and affirming on the merits as to the Section 2 claim. KBS co-counselled this case with Klarquist Sparkman, LLP, who handled the parallel patent infringement claims. Dismissal of those claims was earlier affirmed by the Federal Circuit. The opinion can be found here.
- KBS Team Achieves Temporary Stay of Preliminary Injunction For Global Disaster Relief Non-Profit July, 13, 2020 – United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a Temporary Stay Order stopping a District Court Judge’s preliminary injunction Order against Team Rubicon Global, Ltd. (“TRG”) which is represented by KBS.See attached Second Circuit Court of Appeals Temporary Stay Order for details. TRG, is an international disaster relief non-profit involved in a federal trademark dispute against Team Rubicon, Inc. (“TR-USA”). The Temporary Stay Order at the Court of Appeals was critical for KBS’s client TRG. The District Court Judge’s preliminary injunction Order against TRG prevented TRG from performing international disaster relief operations with its sublicensees, including but not limited to, current relief work directed towards the Covid-19 pandemic. The Court of Appeals’ Temporary Stay Order has temporarily suspended the District Court’s preliminary injunction which irreparably harmed TRG and TRG’s charitable operations.
- David Kesselman named by LA and SF Daily Journal as a Top Antitrust Lawyer in California for 2020. June 2020 Los Angeles, CA – In recognition of his talents and success, KBS founding partner David Kesselman has been recognized by the LA and SF Daily Journal as one of the top antitrust lawyers in the State of California. He was included among a group of highly elite lawyers. To read the article click here.
- KBS Defeats Summary Judgment in Antitrust Battle Over Mobile Dial Code Market
January 2020 – David Kesselman and Trevor Stockinger, along with co-counsel Julie Greathouse and Christine Dillard of PPGMR Law, representing plaintiff Sumotext Corp., successfully defeated a motion for summary judgment in a federal antitrust case involving the leasing and servicing of mobile dial codes (often referred to as mobile StarStar numbers). Sumotext contends that defendants Virtual Hold Technology, LLC, StarSteve LLC, VHT StarStar LLC, and Zoove Corp., embarked upon an anticompetitive scheme to restrain trade and monopolize the markets for leasing and servicing of mobile dial codes – in violation of Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act. After extensive briefing and oral argument, the district court issued a written order denying in full defendants’ motion for summary judgment on December 20, 2019. The case is Sumotext Corp. v. Zoove, Inc., et al., Case No. 5:16-cv-01370-BLF-NMCx (N.D. Cal.). To read the Court’s order click here.
- David Kesselman named among Top 100 Southern California Super Lawyers in 2020
January 2020 Los Angeles, CA – In recognition of his talents and success, KBS founding partner David Kesselman has been recognized as one of the top 100 Super Layers in Southern California. He was included among this highly elite group of lawyers for his expertise in Antitrust Law.
- Amy Brantly, David Kesselman, Trevor Stockinger named Super Lawyers in 2020
January 2020 Los Angeles, CA – In recognition of their talents and success, KBS partners Amy Brantly, David Kesselman, and Trevor Stockinger again have been named Super Lawyers in Southern California. The firm founding partners, whose practices include all types of complex business litigation, were recognized for their expertise in Antitrust Law by this Thomson Reuters rating services.
- Majed Dakak named a Rising Star Super Lawyer in 2020
January 2020 Los Angeles, CA – In recognition of his talent and success, KBS partner Majed Dakak again has been named a Rising Star Super Lawyer in Southern California by this Thomson Reuters rating service. Mr. Dakak, a firm founding partner, whose practice includes all types of complex business litigation, was named a Rising Star Super Lawyer in the Antitrust Law practice area.
- KBS Obtains Class Action Settlement of 1.215 Million
December 2019 – Majed Dakak, Esq., representing the Plaintiff and putative class members, successfully obtained Final Approval of Class Action Settlement in the amount of $1.215 million against Defendant DHL Express (USA), Inc. The Order approving final settlement was entered on December 10, 2019 by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Carolyn B. Kuhl.To view the Order click here.
- KBS Files Amicus Brief for Law Professor in FTC v. Qualcomm Appeal
November 2019 – Manhattan Beach, CA – Supporting the Federal Trade Commission in its district court victory over Qualcomm, KBS attorneys David Kesselman, Amy Brantly recently filed an amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit on behalf of University of Utah law professor Jorge L. Contreras. The amicus brief asks the Ninth Circuit to affirm the district court’s findings that Qualcomm engaged in anticompetitive practices in the chip market. The amicus brief is available here. And a recent Law360 article on the filing can be found here.
- Majed Dakak Obtains Judgment in the Amount of $3,366,131.20 in his Client’s Favor
October 2019 – Majed Dakak, of Kesselman Brantly Stockinger LLP, recently obtained an arbitration award in his client’s favor in the amount of $3,272,005. The arbitration award was confirmed by the San Francisco Superior Court. Shortly thereafter, the San Francisco Superior Court entered judgment in the amount of $3,366,131.20 adding pre-judgment interest to the three-member panel’s arbitration award. Mr. Dakak represented one of the two partners involved this joint venture dispute. The joint venture produced giclee prints, frames, furniture, and canvas in both the retail and hospitality industries.
- David Kesselman’s Article on Supreme Court Decision Appears on Front Page of Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal
May 2019 – In what some have characterized as a bit of a surprise ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court this month sided with consumers in holding that they have standing to pursue a proposed antitrust class action against Apple for monopolization. In Apple Inc. v. Pepper, et al., 2019 DJDAR 3951 (May 13, 2019), the court ruled 5-4 that the consumer plaintiffs were not barred by the “indirect purchaser rule” that generally limits standing in federal antitrust cases to direct purchaser plaintiffs only.
- Majed Dakak named a Rising Star Super Lawyer in 2019
January 2019 Los Angeles, CA – In recognition of his talent and success, KBS partner Majed Dakak again has been named a Rising Star Super Lawyer in Southern California by this Thomson Reuters rating service. Mr. Dakak, a firm founding partner, whose practice includes all types of complex business litigation, was named a Rising Star Super Lawyer in the Antitrust Law practice area.
- Amy Brantly, David Kesselman, Trevor Stockinger named Super Lawyers in 2019
January 2019 Los Angeles, CA – In recognition of their talents and success, KBS partners Amy Brantly, David Kesselman, and Trevor Stockinger again have been named Super Lawyers in Southern California. The firm founding partners, whose practices include all types of complex business litigation, were recognized for their expertise in Antitrust Law by this Thomson Reuters rating services.
- KBS Wins At The Hawaii Supreme Court
November 2018 – Amy Brantly, representing the Bankruptcy Estate of Aloha Sports, Inc. (“Aloha Sports”), successfully argued to the Hawaii Supreme Court that summary judgment should not have been granted on Aloha Sport’s Hawaiian state law antitrust claim against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”). The opinion clarified the proof necessary for a plaintiff to succeed on an antitrust claim under Hawaii law. In a unanimous, 39-page, published opinion, the Supreme Court held that the lower courts erroneously required Aloha Sports to prove that the NCAA – while engaging in an unfair method of competition resulting in injury to Aloha Sports – actually harmed competition. The Hawaii Supreme Court also reaffirmed that a plaintiff may generally describe the relevant market without resort to expert testimony. A copy of the opinion can be found at http://www.courts.state.hi.us/ wp-content/ uploads/2018 /11 /SCWC-15-0000663.pdf. The Supreme Court remanded the case to the circuit court for trial. Amy Brantly and David Kesselman, along with local counsel Fritz Rohlfing, are expected to represent Aloha Sports in the trial.
- Ninth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of TCPA Claim for Earth Fare
October 2018 – Amy Brantly and David Kesselman won an appeal decided in favor of KBS client Earth Fare, Inc. Plaintiff Jalen Epps appealed the district court’s dismissal of a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) case against organic grocery store chain Earth Fare. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal holding that plaintiff did not reasonably revoke consent to receive text messages from Earth Fare. The case is Jalen Epps v. Earth Fare, Inc., Case No. 17-55413 (9th Cir.).
- David Kesselman, Amy Brantly and Trevor Stockinger were again chosen as Southern California Super Lawyer in Antitrust for 2018.
- KBS Defeats Motion to Dismiss Antitrust Claims in Battle Over Mobile Dial Code Market
April 2018 – David Kesselman and Trevor Stockinger, with co-counsel Julie Greathouse of PPGMR Law, have successfully defeated motions to dismiss federal antitrust claims. KBS represents plaintiff Sumotext Corporation against defendants Zoove Corporation, Virtual Hold Technology, LLC, and StarSteve LLC. The case involves the market for mobile dial codes (often referred to as mobile Star Star numbers). Sumotext alleges that StarSteve and VHT embarked upon an anticompetitive scheme to control and monopolize the national registry for mobile dial code numbers, controlled by Zoove. Sumotext alleges that defendants engaged in, among other things, an illegal boycott and an unlawful refusal to deal. After extensive briefing and oral argument, the district court rejected defendants’ motion to dismiss and held that Sumotext had properly alleged facts to support claims under both Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act. The case is Sumotext Corporation v. Zoove, Inc., et al., Case No. 5:16-cv-01370-BLF-NMCx (N.D. Cal.).
- The civility and decency of a legal titan: Maxwell M. Blecher
March 20, 2018 – At a time when our society’s civility and decency are being threatened every day, I feel compelled to write about the passing of a true legend in the legal profession who embodied civility and decency in everything that he did. Last October, we unexpectedly lost a giant of the antitrust bar: Maxwell M. Blecher. A truly gifted lawyer for more than 60 years, Max was a throw-back to another era. In his view, the practice of law was a profession in which your word was your bond and a handshake meant more than any document drafted by the ablest of counsel. The highlights of Max’s remarkable career are worth recounting…
- KBS Prevails at Court of Appeal on Anti-SLAPP Ruling for Physician
November 2017 – David Kesselman and Kara McDonald, with co-counsel Steven Schear, successfully secured complete reversal of a trial court’s anti-SLAPP ruling on a physician whistleblower claim. KBS client and neurosurgeon, Dr. Kofi Kessey, filed suit against Los Robles Regional Medical Center, and its parent corporation, alleging unlawful retaliation for raising concerns about patient safety at the hospital. The California Court of Appeal ruled that the trial court erred in finding that the conduct at issue arose out of protected activity, and therefore the trial court should not have applied the anti-SLAPP statute. The case is Kofi Kessey, M.D. v. Los Robles Regional Medical Center, et al., Case No. B270156, in the Court of Appeal of the State of California, Second Appellate District.
- Partner Amy Brantly Is Elected to the Chancery Club
June 2017 – Founded in 1925, the Chancery Club of Los Angeles is composed of distinguished lawyers who are active in professional, civic, and philanthropic organizations. Its members have held positions of honor and responsibility in important legal, judicial, academic, governmental and civic organizations. Membership in the Chancery Club is by invitation only and many of the current members are former federal and state judges. The induction for all new members was held at the California Club on June 8, 2017.
- KBS Successfully Defeats Antitrust, Tortious Interference, Theft of Trade Secret and Related Claims on Motion to Dismiss
May 2017 – Trevor Stockinger and David Kesselman, on behalf of their client Operation Technology Inc. (“Etap”), secured dismissal of Plaintiff Power Analytics Corp.’s antitrust claims brought under section 1 of the Sherman Act, Section 2 of the Sherman Act, and Section 3 of the Clayton Act, as well as related claims for violation of the Lanham Act, trade theft, and tortious interference with contract. This suit alleged anticompetitive exclusive dealing agreements and monopolization in the market for software used to design and monitor nuclear power plants and high-reliability data centers. Among other things, Hon. John A. Kronstadt dismissed the Section 1 and 2 claims without prejudice for failure to plausibly allege, among other things, the existence of an exclusive dealing agreement, a relevant market, foreclosure from that market, and antitrust injury. The Section 3 claim was dismissed with prejudice on grounds that Section 3 applies only to tangible goods and not software. The case is Power Analytics Corp. v. Operation Technology, Inc., et al., Case No. 8:16-CV-1955-JAK-FFM (C.D. Cal.).
- KBS Wins Writ Relief On Antitrust Claim
March 2017 – David Kesselman and Amy Brantly successfully obtained writ relief for a defendant law firm on a plaintiff’s Cartwright Act claim. After the Superior Court overruled a demurrer to the Cartwright Act claim, the Court of Appeal granted writ relief holding that the complaint failed to include allegations that are essential to a Cartwright Act claim, including the relevant market, market power within the relevant market, and harm to competition.
- KBS Successfully Defeats Motion for Preliminary Injunction In Battle Over Africa
February 2017 – David Kesselman, Amy Brantly and Kara McDonald, on behalf of their client ZA Central Registry, NPC (“ZACR”), succeeded in again defeating Plaintiff DotAfricaConnect Trust’s (“plaintiff DCA”) second motion for preliminary injunction in Los Angeles Superior Court. This case arises out of a dispute over the award of the generic top level domain name .Africa. ZACR prevailed in the competition for .Africa but plaintiff DCA filed suit and sought to prevent ICANN (represented by Jones Day) from delegating .Africa to ZACR. The Court again denied plaintiff DCA’s request. Earlier, KBS succeeded in obtaining a dismissal of the claims against ZACR who is now an intervenor in the case. The case is DotConnectAfrica Trust v. Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, et al., Case No. BC607494 (L.A. Superior Court).
- Epps v. Earth Fare, Inc. (9th Cir.)
Amy Brantly and David Kesselman represented Defendant Earth fare in TCPA litigation brought in federal court in the Central District of California. KBS won on a motion to dismiss the case with prejudice and represented Earth Fare in plaintiff’s appeal to the Ninth Circuit. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal holding that plaintiff did not reasonably revoke consent to receive text messages from Earth Fare.
- BS Defeats TCPA Claim for Earth Fare
February 2017 – David Kesselman and Amy Brantly won dismissal of a Telecommunications Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) case filed by Jalen Epps against grocery store chain Earth Fare, in the Central District of California. Judge James Otero dismissed the case without leave to amend holding that plaintiff did not successfully revoke consent to receive text messages and that even if she did, plaintiff failed to plausibly allege that Earth Fare’s messages were sent using an automatic telephone dialing system. The case is Jalen Epps v. Earth Fare, Inc., Case No. 2:16-cv-08221-SJO-SSx (C.D. Cal.).
- avid Kesselman, Amy Brantly and Trevor Stockinger named Super Lawyers in 2017
arch 2017 Los Angeles, CA – In recognition of their talents and success, KBS partners David Kesselman, Amy Brantly and Trevor Stockinger have been named Super Lawyers in Southern California, and Ms. Brantly also received the distinction of being named a Top Woman Attorney in Southern California by this Thomson Reuters rating services. Mr. Kesselman and Mr. Stockinger were named Super Lawyers in the Antitrust practice area and Ms. Brantly in the Business Litigation practice area.
- my Brantly named President-Elect of Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles for 2016-2017
September 2016 Los Angeles, CA – KBS partner Amy Brantly has the honor of serving as the President-Elect of Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles in 2016-2017. WLALA is the leading bar organization for women attorneys in Southern California and works to support the promotion and retention of women attorneys and judges in Los Angeles. WLALA provides support and resources to local practitioners on an array of legal issues, puts on important continuing education programs and seminars throughout the year, and works with several pro bono organizations to provide services to women in need. Ms. Brantly previously served as First Vice President of WLALA.
- avid Kesselman named Chair of LACBA Antitrust and Unfair Business Practices Section for 2016-2017
July 2016 Los Angeles, CA – KBS partner David Kesselman has the honor of serving as the Chair of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Antitrust and Unfair Business Practices Section for 2016-2017. The Section provides support and resources to local practitioners on all types of antitrust and unfair competition issues, and puts on a number of important continuing education programs and seminars throughout the year. Mr. Kesselman previously served as Vice Chair of the section.
- ajed Dakak named a Rising Star Super Lawyer in 2016
June 2016 Los Angeles, CA – In recognition of his talent and success, KBS partner Majed Dakak has been named a Rising Star Super Lawyer in Southern California by this Thomson Reuters rating service. Mr. Dakak, whose practice includes all types of complex business litigation, was named a Rising Star Super Lawyer in the Antitrust practice area.
- avid Kesselman and Amy Brantly named Super Lawyers in 2016
February 2016 Los Angeles, CA – In recognition of their talents and success, KBS partners David Kesselman and Amy Brantly have been named Super Lawyers in Southern California, and Ms. Brantly also received the distinction of being named a Top Woman Attorney in Southern California by this Thomson Reuters rating services. Mr. Kesselman was named Super Lawyer in the Antitrust practice area and Ms. Brantly in the Business Litigation practice area.
- ig law experience, small firm perspective
arch 18, 2016 The Daily Journal chronicles KBS’s successful year.
- BS Partners David Kesselman and Amy Brantly Named Super Lawyers February 23, 2015 Los Angeles, CA – In recognition of their talents and success, KBS partners David Kesselman and Amy Brantly have been named Super Lawyers in Southern California, and Ms. Brantly also received the distinction of being named a Top Woman Attorney…
- alifornia Cipro Case Puts Pay-For-Delay Deals Under Scrutiny
February 11, 2015 David Kesselman quoted as an expert on the status of the California Supreme Court case concerning pay-for-delay settlements.
- rdered recusal of immigration judge boggles the mind
December 10, 2014 KBS partner Majed Dakak co-authors op-ed concerning U.S. Immigration Judge Ashley Tabaddor being ordered to indefinitely recuse herself.
- revor Stockinger Discusses New Antitrust Boutique
ctober 22, 2014 Over the past two years, David Kesselman, Amy Brantly and Trevor Stockinger collaborated to expand the antitrust group at Goldberg, Lowenstein & Weatherwax. It functioned as a firm-within-a-firm, so establishing their own practice seemed the next logical step: Kesselman, Brantly…