Cases & Deals

Macy's wins jury verdict in antitrust group boycott litigation involving fine china tableware

Client(s) Macy's, Inc.

Culminating nearly three years of active litigation, Jones Day obtained a jury verdict after a two-week trial on an antitrust group boycott claim filed by a consumer class against Macy's (formerly known as Federated Department Stores) and The May Company (which Macy's later acquired in 2005). The consumer class had alleged that Macy's and May conspired between themselves in 2001 to induce two of their vendors, Waterford-Wedgwood and Lenox, not to sell fine china tableware products to a competing retailer, Bed, Bath & Beyond. According to plaintiffs, Macy's and May coordinated their efforts in communicating their viewpoints to Waterford-Wedgwood and Lenox after learning that the two vendors were considering whether to sell to Bed, Bath, & Beyond. Macy's and May denied any communications between themselves, asserted that they had reached independent decisions to approach their two vendors and explained that the vendors thereafter made their own, independent decisions respecting Bed, Bath & Beyond.

The San Francisco federal court had previously certified a nationwide class of consumers who purchased fine tableware products from Macy's or May during a three year period beginning in September 2001. The two-week trial ended on July 2, 2007, with defendants obtaining a unanimous verdict in their favor from a nine-person jury, which found no liability on the central claim of conspiracy. The case was later recognized one of the "Top Ten Defense Verdicts" of 2007 by the Daily Journal.

In re Tableware Antitrust Litigation, No. C-04-3514 VRW (N.D. Cal.)