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County of San Mateo v. CSL Ltd.

United States District Court for the Northern District of California

August 20, 2014, Decided; August 20, 2014, Filed

Case No. 10-cv-05686-JSC

Opinion

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' PARTIAL MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Re: Dkt. No. 133

In this California-law antitrust action, Plaintiff County of San Mateo alleges that certain manufacturers of pharmaceutical products derived from human blood plasma conspired to restrict the supply of such products thereby causing Plaintiff, among others, to pay artificially high prices for the products. Now pending before the Court is the motion of Defendants CSL Limited, CSL Behring LLC, CSL Plasma (collectively "CSL"), Baxter International Inc. ("Baxter"), and Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association for partial summary judgment. (Dkt. No. 133.) Defendants contend that Plaintiff, as a matter of law, may not seek damages from Defendants for blood plasma products purchased from rival [*3]  non-conspirators at prices that were inflated by Defendants' anticompetitive conduct. After carefully considering the parties' submissions, and having had the benefit of oral argument on August 14, 2014, the Court DENIES the motion.1

SUMMARY JUDGMENT EVIDENCE

CSL and Baxter manufacture the plasma-derivative protein therapies IVIG and albumin, among others. These therapies are derived from human blood plasma collected from donors and sellers at U.S. collection centers. CSL and Baxter control approximately 60 percent of the U.S. market for all plasma-derivative protein therapies. The therapies, which are necessary to treat numerous life-threatening medical conditions, are sold by CSL and Baxter either directly to healthcare providers or to distributors who then sell to healthcare providers. Plaintiff bought its IVIG and albumin indirectly from distributors ASD Specialty Healthcare and Blood Centers of the Pacific.

Plaintiff alleges that beginning in 2003 CSL and Baxter, along with the trade group Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association, conspired to reduce the supply of plasma-derivative protein [*4]  therapies. This conspiracy caused artificial shortages of IVIG and albumin, which in turn caused inflated prices for those therapies that were paid by Plaintiff. At least for purposes of this motion, the parties do not dispute that Plaintiff was unable to avoid the price increases by, for example, purchasing substitutes for IVIG and albumin.

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2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116342 *; 2014-2 Trade Cas. (CCH) P78,884; 2014 WL 4100602

COUNTY OF SAN MATEO, Plaintiff, v. CSL LIMITED, et al., Defendants.

CORE TERMS

umbrella, speculative, antitrust, overcharge, indirect, non-conspirators, calculation, conspiracy, albumin, nonmoving, chain, multi-tiered, therapies, estimate, Plasma, cartel, unacceptably, partial, protein

Civil Procedure, Summary Judgment, Entitlement as Matter of Law, General Overview, Evidentiary Considerations, Absence of Essential Element, Burdens of Proof, Movant Persuasion & Proof, Judgments, Evidentiary Considerations, Nonmovant Persuasion & Proof, Antitrust & Trade Law, Regulated Practices, Private Actions, State Regulation