The AAI frequently provides advice to consumer and public interest groups that have questions about antitrust. Here is a letter we received recently.
Professor Lande - You may remember that we previously corresponded concerning a case raising the question whether indirect purchasers could sue for antitrust injury in Massachusetts. I write to tell you that the Supreme Judicial Court has issued a decision in the case. See Ciardi v. F. Hoffmann-LaRoche Ltd., 2002 Mass. LEXIS 74. In a 4-3 decision, the Court agreed with us that indirect purchasers have a cause of action under the Massachusetts little-FTC Act, even though they have no cause of action under the Massachusetts Antitrust Act. The Court went on to say that upon a finding of liability at trial, even if plaintiffs could not establish actual damages, they would be entitled to statutory damages of $25 per person. In a case such as this, where actual damages (even if proved) are not large, that decision is very significant. The decision is interesting because the Court notes that a substantial majority of states have responded to Illinois Brick by passing indirect purchaser statutes; and because the dissent acknowledges that the Illinois Brick decision has received much criticism. Thank you for your help earlier on.
Ed Rapacki Ellis & Rapacki LLP Boston, MA 02114