Plus Factors in Price-Fixing Litigation

Antitrust plaintiffs typically rely on circumstantial evidence when pursuing price-fixing claims, because price-fixing conspirators usually conceal their collusion through code names, secret meetings, cover stories, and falsified documents. Antitrust law uses a two-step process for proving price-fixing agreements through circumstantial evidence. First, the plaintiff shows that the defendants engaged in similar conduct, referred to as “conscious parallelism.” Second, the plaintiff presents plus factors, which are evidence that suggests the defendants’ parallel conduct is the product of collusion, not independent decisions by the defendant firms. Following the Supreme Court’s mandate in Continental Ore Co. v. Union Carbide & Carbon Corp. that … Read more

Arbitration Clauses as a Mechanism for Enforcing Unenforceable Contract Terms

In my article The Arbitration Bootstrap,[1] I explain how courts are misinterpreting the Federal Arbitration Act of 1925 (the FAA) in ways that allow firms to use arbitration clauses to render unenforceable contract terms enforceable. Arbitration clauses require consumers and employees to waive their rights to bring litigation in court.  Although arbitration is less protective of consumers and employees than litigation in public courts, arbitration clauses are unavoidable in many markets because firms impose contracts of adhesion that include mandatory arbitration clauses.

Arbitration bootstrapping describes situations where firms insert terms unrelated to arbitration into an arbitration clause because … Read more