Plaintiffs Seek Counsel Leadership Appointments in Amazon Product Pricing Class Action 

A motion filed Monday argued that four firms, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, Keller Postman, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, and Keller Rohrback, should be appointed to leadership roles in the antitrust class action questioning Amazon’s “most favored nation” (MFN) clause that purportedly created an artificial product price floor.

The filing comes ten months after the Seattle, Wash. court overseeing the case denied Amazon’s motion to dismiss the Amazon product purchasers’ federal monopoly and rule of reason antitrust claims.

The 2020 suit, initially filed by Hagens Berman and Keller Postman, concerns Amazon’s agreement with third-party merchants that sell products on its platform. Amazon allegedly imposed a MFN clause to prevent those merchants from selling their products for lower prices on competing online platforms. According to the complaint, this resulted in supra-competitive prices for those products on both Amazon’s platform and competing online platforms.

The court’s dismissal ruling found that the plaintiffs had standing to pursue their claims as well as that they alleged anticompetitive conduct and effect. Judge Richard A. Jones also allowed the plaintiffs to amend their dismissed claims. Amazon’s motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ amended claims is currently pending. 

This week’s motion notes that on Dec. 30, 2022 plaintiffs’ counsel first learned of the substantially similar action filed in the Southern District of New York in November 2022.

The plaintiffs argue that in order to avoid “duplicative efforts, minimize costs, and avoid risks to the Class by conflicting representation, Plaintiffs seek leave to appoint their counsel as interim lead counsel.” Specifically, they propose that Hagens Berman and Keller Postman serve as interim co-lead class counsel and that Quinn Emanuel and Keller Rohrback serve as members of a plaintiffs’ executive committee.

The plaintiffs contend that the appointments are warranted under the Federal Rules’ class action provisions. They add that the firms have already invested significant time and resources to investigate, file, and litigate the claims and that the proposed leadership structure “fairly recognizes” the firms’ respective contributions.

Amazon is represented by Davis Wright Tremaine LLP and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.