Background on: Credit Suisse v. Billing

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Mar 29, 2007

Issue: The issue presented to the court in Credit Suisse is what constitutes the appropriate standard for implying antitrust immunity in the context of the potential conflict with federal securities laws.

Factual and Procedural Background: Plaintiffs (now respondents), investors who had purchased stocks during the course of initial public offerings, or shortly after such offerings, brought suit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against several investments banks in the business of underwriting IPOs as well as other institutional investors. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants had conspired to compel IPO customers to pay excessive consideration or commissions to purchase specific stocks and had also conspired to drive up the aftermarket prices for these stocks. Among the plaintiffs’ claims, they alleged that these actions constituted violations of federal antitrust law. The defendants (now petitioners) moved to dismiss the antitrust claims, arguing that the antitrust laws did not apply to transactions that were comprehensively regulated under federal securities laws. The district court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss. The district court held that antitrust immunity was appropriate in this case, noting that much of the alleged conduct was expressly permitted by the securities laws, and that the SEC was empowered to regulate such conduct. The c…

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