Week Ahead in Antitrust: Aug. 30, 2021

(Reuters) - Here are some upcoming events of interest to the antitrust community. Unless otherwise noted, all times are local, and court appearances are virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Monday, Aug. 30

2:30 p.m. - A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is set to hear Pulse Network LLC's antitrust claims against rival Visa Inc concerning the networks on which debit card transactions are processed. Lawyers for Pulse, acquired by Discovery Financial Services, contend Visa has rigged the system through exclusionary conduct involving fixed fees and per-transaction costs.

"Visa uses its monopoly power to entrench itself by penalizing merchants and issuers if they do too much business with Visa's rivals," lawyers for Pulse wrote in a court filing on Aug. 16. Visa's lawyers assert Pulse "continues to seek through litigation what it hasn't achieved through competition."

The case is Pulse Network LLC v. Visa Inc, 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 18-20669.

For Pulse: Paul Clement of Kirkland & Ellis.

For Visa: Allyson Ho of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.

Tuesday, Aug. 31

10:00 a.m. - U.S. Magistrate Judge Virginia DeMarchi has set a discovery hearing in San Jose, California, federal court to talk about a range of issues in an antitrust case against Facebook Inc brought by consumer and advertiser plaintiffs. The complaint alleges, among other things, that Facebook acquired market power by deceiving consumers about privacy practices. A case management conference is scheduled for Sept. 1 before U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh.

The case is Klein et al v. Facebook Inc, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, No. 5:20-cv-08570-LHK.

Co-lead interim consumer class counsel: Stephen Swedlow of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, and Shana Scarlett of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro.

Co-lead interim advertiser class counsel: Yavar Bathaee of Bathaee Dunne, and Kristen Anderson of Scott+Scott Attorneys At Law.

For Facebook: Sonal Mehta and David Gringer of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr.

11 a.m. - U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington, D.C., wants to hear more today from Apple Inc and the Justice Department about whether and how they've resolved a third-party discovery dispute that arose in the government's antitrust case against Google Inc. DOJ raised concerns to Mehta about whether Apple had done enough to search for and provide internal records.

The case is United States v. Google, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, No. 1:20-cv-03010.

For the United States: Kenneth Dintzer of the Justice Department.

For Google: John Schmidtlein of Williams & Connolly.

For Microsoft: Caroline Simons of Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe.

For Apple: Steven Sunshine of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Wednesday, Sept. 1

2 p.m. - Crowell & Moring is set to host a webinar addressing FTC rulemaking in the Biden era. "It will focus on the scope of FTC's rulemaking authority and the rulemaking process, opportunities companies may have to participate in the rulemaking process, and how to prepare for the challenges new FTC rules may create," the firm said. Antitrust partner Alexis Gilman is on the panel with senior counsels Andrew Gavil and Lisa Kimmel, and Daniel Wolff, chairman of the administrative law and regulatory practice. Find more information here.

Friday, Sept. 3

8:30 a.m. - The 15th International Conference on Competition and Regulation is set to start today. This year's theme is "advances in the analysis of competition policy and regulation." Speakers include Professor Nancy Rose of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology economics department; Scott Hemphill of New York University School of Law; and Doha Mekki of the Justice Department's antitrust division. Find more information here.

9:30 a.m. - Judge Alfred Irving of D.C. Superior Court is set to meet with the lawyers in the District of Columbia's antitrust case against Amazon Inc. to discuss scheduling matters. The D.C. attorney general's office sued Amazon in May, alleging the online retailer's pricing strategy--which says sellers are not allowed to offer better deals at other sites--violates antitrust law. Amazon denies any competition law violation.

The case is District of Columbia v. Amazon, D.C. Superior Court, No. 2021CA001775B.

For D.C.: Kathleen Konopka of the D.C. attorney general's office, and Swathi Bojedla of Hausfeld.

For Amazon: Karen Dunn and William Isaacson of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison

Know of an event that could be included in Week Ahead in Antitrust? Contact Mike Scarcella at mike.scarcella@thomsonreuters.com

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