John DeQ. Briggs
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TEL 202.721.5400
TEL2 202.253.0835
jbriggs@axinn.com
Washington, DC
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John DeQ. Briggs is one of the most accomplished competition lawyers of his generation. Mr. Briggs has been antitrust and litigation counsel of choice for dozens of major companies in the United States, Asia, Europe and Scandinavia. Client demand for his work has focused on antitrust, M&A and complex civil litigation, including especially matters implicating shareholder liability and jurisdiction based on principles of veil piercing and alter ego. Prior to joining Axinn, Mr. Briggs served for more than 10 years as the Chair of the antitrust practice for Howrey LLP, during his tenure the largest private antitrust practice in the world. For most of the past decade he was an adjunct Professor of International Competition Law at the George Washington University.

Mr. Briggs is also a past Chair of the American Bar Association’s ten thousand member Section of Antitrust Law; a Fellow in the Litigation Counsel of America, The Trial lawyer Honorary Society; and was also recently elected a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

In addition:

  • Mr. Briggs has served as an expert witness on US antitrust law at the behest of companies and law firms in proceedings around the world, including Australia, Canada, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
  • Mr. Briggs has represented one or both merging parties in fully litigated successful merger cases against both the FTC and the DOJ and was engaged as Special Trial Counsel by the Comptroller of the Currency to defend at trial a bank merger approved by the Comptroller yet challenged by the DOJ.
  • Mr. Briggs has been lead counsel for antitrust non-merger and other complex business disputes in the federal or state courts of more than twenty states, and has been lead counsel on appellate matters in the Supreme Court and in the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth, Eleventh, and Federal Circuits.

Mr. Briggs has been recognized by his peers and by numerous publications as at the top of his field. For example:

  • He is classified by Chambers and Partners as “incredibly smart,” “very articulate,” and a “Leader in his Field”
  • He is a repeat recipient of BTI Client Services "All Star" Award based on nominations by Fortune 1000 Chief Legal Officers for “client focus, delivery of results, and exceptional understanding of clients’ business"
  • Global Competition Review  featured him as  one of a small number of antitrust lawyers enjoying “A Decade at the Top” and otherwise has characterized him as a "Great Courtroom Lawyer”
  • He has been recognized for more than a decade as a “Washington, DC Super Lawyer” and has been named among the “Best Lawyers in America” each year since at least 2005
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Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association, Section of Antitrust Law: Chairman (1995-1996); Program Officer (1993-1994); Secretary (1991-1992); Chairman of Editorial Board of Antitrust Law Developments (1984-1989)
  • Member, MLex Advisory Board, (2016- present)
  • Member, Advisory Board, Bureau of National Affairs’ Antitrust and Trade Regulation Report (1994-2015)
  • Member, Law360 Advisory Board, (2010-15)
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America, the Trial Lawyer Honorary Society
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation
  • Board of Trustees, Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia (1996-2010)

Experience

Representative Matters as Lead Counsel: 2001-2019

Affinia Group and its affiliate Wix Filtration in a multidistrict price fixing class actions in the U.S. and Canada, as well as in transactional matters.

Checkpoint Systems in vacating an $80 million adverse antitrust jury verdict procured by a rival and in defending that outcome on appeal to the third circuit.

Confidential Chinese and Japanese clients in connection with US antitrust matters, criminal and civil.

Dana Corporation in a variety of matters, including: (1) its successful antitrust defense to the hostile cash tender offer mounted by ArvinMeritor; (2) a series of veil piercing and contract litigations arising out of the company’s ownership of a long-defunct producer of asbestos products, and  (3) the successful defense of a RICO class action case.

Harris Holdings plc in litigation brought against it and affiliates by the FTC and certain States.

Hexcel in its defense of a large contract claim by Hercules in the New York Supreme Court and in its pursuit of a price fixing claim against BP in California federal court, among other matters.

Independence Blue Cross in connection with an ongoing multidistrict class action pending in Birmingham, Alabama; in its defense of a claim for monopolization and monopolization brought by a local hospital; and in connection with several transactional matters.

Louisiana Health Services Inc. in the defense and mediated settlement of a claim under Section 2 of the Sherman Act brought by a consortium of HCA-owned hospitals in Louisiana.

Medco in connection with a confidential class arbitration matter as well as other matters.

Merck in connection with the defense of antitrust claims made against it by plaintiffs claiming to have been injured by the company’s assertion of legitimate patent rights and in related counseling matters.

Rockwell Automation in a cluster of nine (9) very substantial and interrelated patent/antitrust cases in Illinois and Wisconsin.

Rockwell Collins in connection with the defense of a monopolization claim brought against it by an avionics rival and defending the favorable judgment in the federal court of appeals.

Rockwell International in its successful and controversial opposition to the combination of GE and Honeywell before the European Commission.

Quantum in connection with complex private litigations and class actions against it arising out of certain IP licensing programs as well as in its acquisition of Certance and others.

Tomkins plc in a cartel proceeding in Europe and associated successful appeals to the General Court and the European Court of Justice and in the defense of a price discrimination case in federal court in New York brought by nearly one hundred plaintiffs.

Representative Matters as Lead Counsel: 1991-2000

Ameristeel, Cargill and some nineteen other steel companies in the prosecution and settlement of a treble damage price fixing case brought against the members of a worldwide cartel of  producers of graphite electrodes, achieving settlements in the area of two hundred million dollars.

Dana Corporation in several litigated matters, including: (1) a substantial veil piercing case brought by the creditors of an insolvent captive reinsurance subsidiary; (2) the successful pursuit of a RICO and contract claim against a health insurance company; and (3) multiple litigations involving the alleged liability of Dana (as shareholder) to building owners and certain individuals arising out of the production and sale of asbestos products by a long-defunct and dissolved former subsidiary of the company.

Gates Corporation in its defense of antitrust counterclaims brought by Bando in response to a suit for patent infringement.

Rockwell International in many litigated matters including: (1) a veil piercing case brought by the creditors of the company’s captive Bermudian reinsurance subsidiary; (2) a successful patent misuse defense against Motorola’s multi-billion dollar patent claims, and (3) antitrust litigation under the Cartwright Act.

Prudential Reinsurance Co. in Hartford Fire Ins. Co. v. California, 509 U.S. 764 (1993), the leading case dealing with the limitations of the boycott exception to the insurance immunity provided under the McCarran-Ferguson Act as well as the extraterritorial reach of the Sherman Act. Acted as lead counsel in the district court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as well.

Uniroyal-Goodrich Tire Co. in private antitrust litigation as well as in various transactions, including the sale of the enterprise to Michelin. 

Representative Matters as Lead/Trial Counsel: 1973-1990

Black & Decker in the successful litigated defense of the DOJ challenge to the company’s acquisition of McCulloch, and in a variety of other matters.

Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Canadian Manufacturers’ Association as amici curiae in the Supreme Court in Copperweld v. Independence Tube Corporation, 467 U.S. 752 (1984).

Caterpillar in Merican, Inc. v. Caterpillar Tractor Co. (1983) (a leading third circuit case on the standing of certain indirect purchasers to sue indirect suppliers for damages under the Sherman Act) and in a number of dealer termination proceedings.

Crompton Corporation (and its predecessor Uniroyal Chemical Company) in connection with various matters.

Dana Corporation in a wide variety of litigated matters, government investigations and transactions.

Distilled Spirits Council of the US (DISCUS) in Louisiana litigation brought against an entire industry by Schwegmann Bros. Giant Super Markets (as to DISCUS, the court found the council’s attempts to influence public officials exempt from antitrust laws under the Noerr-Pennington doctrine).

McCulloch Corporation in California antitrust litigation brought under federal and state antitrust statutes

Monroe Auto Equipment Company in the fully litigated merger litigation instituted by the FTC against Monroe and the purchaser of its shares, Tenneco, Inc.

Uniroyal, Inc. in various litigations and also in connection with transactional matters.

Special trial counsel for The U.S. Comptroller of the Currency in the successful defense of a fully litigated bank merger approved by the Comptroller and opposed by the Department of Justice.

Honors

Chambers USA: "America’s Leading Lawyers for Business" recognized John Briggs as: "incredibly smart," "very articulate," and a "Leader in his Field"

Repeat recipient of BTI Client Services “All Star” Award based on repeat nominations by Fortune 1000 Chief Legal Officers for "client focus, delivery of results, and exceptional understanding of clients' business" (2005-2007)

Featured by Global Competition Review as one of a small number of antitrust lawyers enjoying "A Decade at the Top" (August 2007) 

"The Best of the Best" and a Washington, DC Super Lawyer (2004-2018) 

"Best Lawyers in America" each year since 2005 

His 2014 article, "Schrödinger’s Cat and Extraterritoriality," Antitrust Magazine (Fall 2014), was awarded the Concurrences/George Washington University 2015 Writing Award for Best Antitrust Academic Article, Cross-Border Issues.

His 2018 article, "Re-designing the American Antitrust Machine-Part I: Treble Damages, Contribution and Claim reduction," was nominated and short-listed for Best Academic Articles Category (published in "Douglas H. Ginsburg, an Antitrust Professor on the Bench," Liber Amicorum, by the Institute of Competition Law, 2018).

His 2013 article "Rethinking US Antitrust Policy and Administration: Joining the Rest of the World in the 21st Century" (co-authored with Donald I. Baker) was nominated and short-listed for the Academic Articles category, General Antitrust (published in "William E. Kovacic - An Antitrust Tribute, Vol. II" by the Institute of Competition Law, 2014). 

Who's Who Legal: Competition (2019)

News

Thought Leadership

  • Navigating the Jurisdiction of American Courts, February 2018
  • Re-Designing the American Antitrust Machine Part I: Treble Damages, Contribution and Claim Reduction, (published in “Douglas H. Ginsburg, an Antitrust Professor on the Bench,” Liber Amicorum, by the Institute of Competition Law), 2018
  • Fasten Your Seat Belts: Here Comes the Trump Administration, Concurrences N° 4-2016 (published as part of a symposium "What is Trump Antitrust?"), Fall 2016
  • Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, Extraterritoriality and Comity, Fall 2015
  • Schrödinger’s Cat and Extraterritoriality, Antitrust Magazine, Fall 2014
  • Eurotunnel and the Short Sea Battle Between the French and the English: A U.S. Perspective, Revue Concurrences N° 1-2014, Art. N° 62589 (Feb. 2014) (with Daniel K. Oakes)

    Rethinking U.S. Antitrust Policy and Administration: Joining the Rest of the World in the 21st Century, published in Liber Amicorum, "William E. Kovacic - An Antitrust Tribute, Vol. II" by the Institute of Competition Law, 2014 (with Donald I. Baker)

    The Supreme Court's 21st Century Section 2 Jurisprudence: Penelope or Thermopylae? 11 Sedona Conf. J. 137 (2010) (with Daniel Matheson)

    In Reversal, DOJ now Targeting Monopolization – Antitrust Division disavows Bush policies, plans to enforce §2 of the Sherman Act rigorously, The National Law Journal (November 2, 2009)

    Developments in the Law: The Presumption of Shareholder Liability and the Implications for Shareholders in Private Damages Actions, Global Competition Litigation Review (Issue 4, 2009) (with Sarah Jordan)

    EU and U.S. “Competing” via their Competition Regimes, European Affairs (2009)

    Intellectual Property and Antitrust: Two Scorpions in a Bottle, The Sedona Conference Journal (Volume 10, Fall 2009)

    The Incredible Shrinking Scale and Scope of American Antitrust 1976-2007, presented to the Sedona Conference, October 26-27, 2007

    Presumed Guilty: Shareholder Liability for A Subsidiary’s Infringements of Article 81 EC Treaty, 8 Bus, Law Int’l (2007) (with Sarah Jordan), also available sub. nom. Présumé Coupable: Responsibilité de l’actionnaire pour les infractions commises par une filiale à l’Article 81 du Traité Instituant Le Communauté Européenne

    The Unsettled and Unsettling Nature of U.S. Competition Law Governing Single Firm Conduct, presented to The Sedona Conference, October 27, 2006

    Unilateral Conduct by “Dominant” Firms in the US: Principles and Practicalities, 2005 Competition Law Invitational Forum, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada 2005 (with Barbara O. Bruckmann)

    The Strange State of American Law Relating to Unilateral Conduct by “Dominant” Firms, Presented before The Conference of the International Bar Association, Auckland, New Zealand, October 27, 2004 (with Barbara O. Bruckmann)

    Foreign Purchasers Limited in Mounting Antitrust Suits in U.S. Courts, But Door not Closed all the Way, The Daily Deal, July (2004)

    Trends in Private Antitrust Enforcement: The Monopolist Next Door, The Antitrust Review of The Americas 2003 (with James Kress)

    Live and Let Die, 10 George Mason L. Rev. 3 (April, 2002) (with Howard Rosenblatt)

    A Bundle of Trouble: The Aftermath of GE/Honeywell, Antitrust Magazine, Fall, 2001 (with Howard Rosenblatt)

    Transatlantic Antitrust: Convergence or Divergence, Roundtable Discussion, Antitrust Magazine, Fall, 2001 (with Francisco-Enrique Gonzalez-Diaz, Bruce Korgut, and Carl Shapiro)

    GE-Honeywell: Chill or Challenge for Global Cooperation? Antitrust Report, September, 2001 (with James F. Rill)

    Single Firm Conduct and Developments in Private Antitrust Litigation, The Antitrust Review of the Americas (November, 2000) (with Margaret Zwisler)

    Antitrust 2001,Co-Chair (with William P. Barr) of a two day program on antitrust sponsored by Fulcrum, Inc and featuring the leading five officials from both the FTC and the DOJ (September 28-29, 2000)

    The FTC on an Antitrust Tear, The Corporate Legal Times, Special Supplement on Litigation and Technology (June, 2000) (with Scott Flick).

    MEDIA QUOTES

    Why a Humana-Walmart Merger Makes Sense — and Why Not, Louisville Business First, March 30, 2018

    CVS-Aetna Deal Could Mean End of Era in How Drugs are Paid For, Providence Journal, October 27, 2017

    Antitrust Agencies Likely to Weather Trump Storm, Ex-Officials Say, Bloomberg BNA, March 21, 2017

    Trump Sends Mixed Signals on Mega-Mergers, Bloomberg BNA, January 2017

    Reagan Veterans See Law Firm Lessons for a Trump Era, The National Law Journal, November 21, 2016

    Amazon Japan Raided By Antitrust Watchdog, Financial Times, August 8, 2016

    FTC Drops West Virginia Hospital Merger Challenge, Global Competition Review, July 8, 2016

    U.S. Lawsuit Against Activist ValueAct Puts Mutual Funds on Alert, Reuters, April 12, 2016

    ChemChina Nears Deal to Buy Syngenta, The Wall Street Journal, February 2, 2016

    GE-Electrolux Merger Failure Offers Cautionary Tale, Law360, December 7, 2015

    7th Circ.'s Motorola Case May Hinder DOJ's Foreign Reach, Law360, November 10, 2014

    Dollar Tree May Beat Hostile Bid on Antitrust Review, Law360, September 10, 2014

    Competition Cases To Watch As 2014 Rolls On, Law360, August 12, 2014

Events

Education

  • JD – Georgetown University
  • Officer, United States Navy
  • AB – Harvard College

Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • US Supreme Court
  • US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the Federal Circuit, and the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth and Eleventh Circuits