Jonathan Tomlin, Ph.D., principal and managing director of economics at Navigant, recently published an article on Law360 surrounding the topic of indirect purchaser plaintiff class actions.
In numerous recent antitrust class actions, indirect purchaser plaintiffs have alleged a price-fixing conspiracy involving manufacturers several stages “upstream” from the retail level at which they made their purchases. Indirect purchaser plaintiffs in recent antitrust suits include consumers of computers, eggs, drywall, tuna, chicken, automobiles, and power tools. As Dr. Tomlin explains, these plaintiffs often encounter two substantial hurdles. First, they often must identify the “pass-through” of any price increases through numerous levels of the supply chain. Second, they often need to address the issue of retail prices being set at “price points.” Dr. Tomlin summarizes the economics of both of these challenges in the context of several recent decisions.