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Jeffrey (Jeff) D. Martino

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Jeff Martino brings an in-depth understanding of a wide variety of white collar and fraud related matters to his antitrust litigation and investigations practice. Jeff is co-lead of the Firm's Global Cartel Task Force and represents multinational corporations and their boards and executives in high-stakes criminal and civil investigations by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and other federal and state agencies Prior to joining Baker McKenzie, Jeff spent nearly two decades at the DOJ and his last 7 years as a senior leader in two different DOJ components. He has extensive experience as “first chair” on trials and investigations in the most complex areas of criminal antitrust. Jeff's work at the DOJ included providing technical assistance to competition agencies in Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe and overseeing matters that included international corruption and antitrust cartel offenses that entangled the largest global banks and their key executives.

The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Antitrust Division (“Division”) has launched the Task Force on Health Care Monopolies and Collusion. This new Task Force, made up of lawyers, economists, industry experts, data scientists, and technologists from across the Division, will work on investigations and policies across the healthcare space. In particular, the Task Force will focus on consolidated markets, particularly where business operations affect customer care, the use of healthcare data, labor issues, and technology services in the healthcare space.

The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Antitrust Division has launched the Task Force on Health Care Monopolies and Collusion. This new Task Force, made up of lawyers, economists, industry experts, data scientists, and technologists from across the Division, will work on investigations and policies across the healthcare space. In particular, the Task Force will focus on consolidated markets, particularly where business operations affect customer care, the use of healthcare data, labor issues, and technology services in the healthcare space.

On April 10, 2024, the Department of Justice Antitrust Division announced that it had secured a guilty plea from a fuel truck company owner for conspiracy to monopolize trade in violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act. This policy shift has expanded the scope of the DOJ’s criminal antitrust enforcement agenda. Accordingly, companies should ensure that their employees are properly complying with antitrust regulations and continue to monitor as this revived area of antitrust law develops.

Both the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (collectively, “Agencies”) have submitted a joint Statement of Interest in a third-party dispute currently active in the Federal District of New Jersey. The Statement clarifies the Agencies’ positions on price fixing through the use of algorithms. The third-party dispute involves a class action against casino hotels in the Atlantic City, New Jersey area.

On 6 March 2024, California Assistant Attorney General Paula Blizzard announced at the American Bar Association’s annual National Institute on White Collar Crime the state’s intentions to reinvigorate criminal enforcement of the Cartwright Act, California’s primary antitrust statute. California has not criminally prosecuted violations of the Cartwright Act in 25 years. Blizzard’s announcement comes shortly after California enacted legislation to codify restrictions against no-poach and non-compete clauses. All-in-all, state officials appear poised to follow in the Biden administration’s footsteps and increase antitrust enforcement. Companies should be on notice of certain states like California that are taking steps to strengthen antitrust enforcement and alleged agreements to fix prices, divide markets, and rig bids could soon lead to criminal penalties under either state or federal statutes.

On 1 December 2023, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed a Sherman Act conviction of a former executive of an aluminum products manufacturer for failure to state a per se antitrust offense. In February 2022, the former executive was found guilty of six counts: conspiracy to rig bids, conspiracy to commit mail or wire fraud, three counts of mail fraud, and one count of wire fraud. The court affirmed the mail and wire fraud convictions, but reversed the Sherman Act conviction of conspiracy to rig bids. The Fourth Circuit held that the trial court erred in applying the per se rule without considering the fact that the alleged scheme took place within the context of a “dual distribution” relationship among competing bidders, who also maintained a supplier relationship.

On 18 December 2023, the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) jointly issued their highly anticipated final version of the 2023 Merger Guidelines . The issuance of the Guidelines follows the agencies’ release of draft guidelines in July and the conclusion of a public notice-and-comment period. The Guidelines set out how the agencies assess whether mergers and acquisitions threaten anticompetitive harm in violation of US antitrust laws.

Most notably, the newly issued Guidelines retained the lower thresholds for establishing presumptions of anticompetitive harm — including if the merger gives the combined firm more than 30% market share. Additionally, the Guidelines outline a holistic approach for analyzing vertical mergers.

On 1 December 2023, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed a Sherman Act conviction of a former executive of an aluminum products manufacturer for failure to state a per se antitrust offense. While DOJ is considering en banc review of this opinion, if upheld the decision could have lasting implications for how the DOJ proceeds with indictments involving parties that engage in dual distribution. We will continue to monitor for future developments in this case as it moves forward.

On 4 October 2023, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco of the U.S. Department of Justice announced a new DOJ-wide policy that seeks to provide greater certainty as to the potential benefits to acquirers that uncover criminal conduct at a target company. The DOJ’s Mergers & Acquisitions Safe Harbor Policy for voluntary self-disclosures provides greater certainty to acquirers who self-report within the safe harbor period, fully cooperate with the DOJ in its investigation, and engage in requisite, timely, and appropriate remediation, pay restitution, and disgorge any ill-gotten gains.

On 21 September 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it was suing US Anesthesia Partners, Inc. (USAP) and its private equity owner Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe (WCAS) in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The lawsuit targets a common private equity strategy known as a “roll-up.” A roll-up merger typically occurs when a private equity company acquires several small companies in the same market and subsequently merges those companies.