April 30, 2005
Kaplan and Bar/Bri Alleged to Illegally Divide Market--Rodriguez v. West Publishing Corporation
Rodriguez v. West Publishing Corporation, CV05-3222 (C.D. Cal. complaint filed April 28, 2005). Explosive class-action antitrust lawsuit brought by Van Etten Suzumoto & Beckett against Kaplan and Bar/Bri alleging an illegal market-division agreement where West agreed to stay out of the LSAT preparation market and Kaplan agreed to stay out of the bar exam preparation market. Press release here.
I’m a little surprised that this lawsuit hasn’t been brought earlier; Bar/Bri has had nearly 100% market share for years. On that front, I know very little about antitrust law, but I wonder about the applicable statute of limitations—the purported agreement took place in 1997, or nearly 8 years ago.
My experience was Bar/Bri was a good one (i.e., they did a good job preparing me for the bar exam), but the complete absence of meaningful competition in the bar exam preparation business has puzzled me for a long time. If the plaintiffs can prove the facts they allege in their complaint, then we’ll have an answer.
Posted by Eric at April 30, 2005 12:25 PM | Legal Education Industry
As I recall from my days at a plaintiffs' antitrust firm, the damges would be limited to three years, but an ongoing agreement in restraint of trade is actionable even if the agreement was initiated many years ago.
Posted by: John Steele at May 3, 2005 04:01 PM
Rodriguez and Fralich make all kinds of statements on "belief" but don't refer to any documents or other proof. Conspiracy? Oliver Stone has not announced plans for a movie. Motivation? I wonder if either of these plaintiff's passed their bar exam?
Posted by: Derrick Worthington at June 20, 2005 07:53 PM
These are legitimate questions, and we need to see what facts the plaintiffs can prove. However, at the complaint stage, it doesn't bother me that the allegations are based on "belief" and that no supporting documents were attached; both of these are very standard. Eric.
Posted by: Eric Goldman at June 20, 2005 09:24 PM