NEW YORK, October 8, 2015—National law firm Robins Kaplan LLP announced today that it has been named co-lead counsel in antitrust litigation against the four dominant manufacturers and the largest nationwide distributor of contact lenses. As co-lead counsel, Robins Kaplan represents a proposed class of individual consumers that purchased contact lenses from retailers and eye care professionals that could number in the millions.
Robins Kaplan filed one of the first class action complaints on behalf of purchasers of contact lenses in the U.S. in March 2015, alleging a conspiracy by Alcon Laboratories, Inc., Bausch + Lomb, Inc., CooperVision, Inc., Johnson & Johnson, Vision Care, Inc., and wholesale distributor ABB Optical Group, to stifle competition from discount retailers and stabilize prices in the $4 billion contact lens market. According to the complaint, the defendants achieved their ends through corporate policies that prohibited retailers from reselling their contact lens products for prices below established price floors. A Senate Judiciary subcommittee held a hearing on the use of such pricing policies last summer, and numerous complaints on the issue have been made to the Federal Trade Commission since.
"The 40 million Americans who wear contact lenses should be entitled to benefit from lower prices resulting from free and unfettered competition between retailers and eye care professionals," said Hollis Salzman, co-chair of the Antitrust Trade & Regulation group at Robins Kaplan LLP. "We allege that consumers have been forced to pay inflated prices for contact lenses as a result of defendants’ unlawful scheme, and we look forward to pursuing all available remedies for them."
The defendants in the action account for 97 percent of the domestic contact lens market, in which prices have risen dramatically since 2013. The lawsuit seeks relief under federal law as well as the laws of several states.
Robins Kaplan partners Hollis Salzman and Kellie Lerner, as well as of counsel Bernard Persky and associate William Reiss, are representing the plaintiffs.
The case is In re: Disposable Contact Lens Antitrust Litigation. It is pending in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida before Senior Judge Harvey Schlesinger.