Class Certification Denied in Photochromic Lenses Antitrust Litigation

Apr 7, 2014

Dr. Gregory K. Leonard and Dr. Laila Haider served as expert witness and consulting expert, respectively, on behalf of the defendants in the matter In Re: Photochromic Lenses Antitrust Litigation.

Transitions Optical, Inc. provides photochromic treatment on prescription lenses that darken automatically when exposed to ultraviolet light and fade back to clear indoors. The plaintiffs alleged that Transitions conspired with Essilor of America, Inc. and Essilor Laboratories of America, Inc. to restrain competition and enforce exclusive arrangements for Transitions lenses at various levels of the distribution chain. 

The direct purchasers sought to certify different classes of purchasers of prescription eyewear with Transition lenses. Dr. Leonard and Dr. Haider provided econometric and economic analysis challenging the appropriateness of plaintiffs’ class-wide methodologies. Dr. Leonard submitted an expert report and testified at the class certification hearing.

US District Judge for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, James D. Whittemore denied class certification as sought by the direct purchasers, concluding that the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that common issues prevailed over individualized ones. The Judge’s findings relied heavily on Dr. Leonard’s testimony, as the Judge determined that “the expert reports in this case demonstrate that Direct Purchasers cannot utilize common proof to demonstrate the crucial element of antitrust impact as to each member of the class.”

Previously, Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Jenkins recommended denying both direct and indirect motions for class certification. Citing Dr. Gregory Leonard’s opinions, the Judge found that “given the multiple models, the changing regression analyses, the price card data, and the use of a 50 percent statistical significance level, plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence a workable methodology to gauge impact on all members of the class through methods based on common evidence.”

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