By Andrew Longstreth
NEW YORK, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Private antitrust lawsuits
filed in federal courts rose for the first time in three years,
according to statistics compiled by the judiciary's
During the 2012 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, antitrust
lawsuits rose to 677, up 50 percent from 452 in the previous
Before 2012, antitrust lawsuits had been falling since 2008,
according to statistics compiled by the Administrative Office of
the United States Courts. Plaintiffs' lawyers attributed the
drop to the increasing costs of bringing lawsuits and to the
2007 Supreme Court decision known as Bell Atlantic Corp v.
Twombly that made it harder for lawsuits to survive motions to
It's unclear what accounted for the increase last fiscal
year. Robert Lande, a professor at the University of Baltimore
School of Law who specializes in antitrust, cautioned against
reading too much into the numbers. He said the increase may be
the result of plaintiffs' lawyers filing similar lawsuits for
different classes of plaintiffs.
"There are a million different factors to consider," said
Another gauge of the strength of private antitrust
litigation is the number of multidistrict proceedings that
consolidate similar lawsuits across courts nationwide.
The number of multidistrict proceedings has been trending
downward over the last six years. Reuters has previously
reported that multi-district lawsuits consolidated in U.S.
district courts dropped to four in 2010, down from 12 the
previous year. In 2012, there were six cases tagged as
multi-district proceedings, according to data available on
Westlaw, a Thomson Reuters database.
(This story has been corrected to reflect that antitrust
lawsuits rose by 50 percent, not 33 percent.)
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