A woman has brought an anti-trust lawsuit against several major optical suppliers, alleging unfair trade practices dating to 2013.
Jennifer L. Crose filed a class action complaint against CooperVision Inc. of Pleasanton, Calif.; Alcon Laboratories Inc. of Fort Worth; Bausch and Lomb Inc. of Bridgewater, N.J.; Johnson and Johnson Vision Care Inc. of Jacksonville, Fla.; and ABB/Con-Cise Optical Group LLC (a.k.a. ABB Optical Group) of Coral Springs, Fla., in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana on March 31.
According to the lawsuit, the defendants engaged in conspiratorial behavior to artificially control the price of contact lenses. Seeking to represent herself and class members who purchased contact lenses sold by the defendants collectively, Crose alleges that the manufacturers, who allegedly control more than 97 percent of the market, sought to fix, raise, maintain and/or stabilize the product prices by imposing price floor policies (PFPs) originating in mid-2013.
PFPs set a minimum price below which no reseller can price the product. The complaint says that the first PFP was implemented in June 2013 and that the defendants have threatened to halt supply to any reseller that sells lenses below their minimum.
The suit alleges that the defendants intend to impede price competition between independent eye care professionals and big-box stores, internet retailers and warehouse clubs that typically charge less for the contact lens products; and that prices have increased disproportionately as a result, to the detriment of consumers. It cites a July 2014 hearing before a subcommittee of the U.S. Senate’s Judiciary Committee investigating the practice.
Alleging deprivation of free and open competition, unlawful trade practices, and unjust enrichment, the plaintiff seeks injunctive action; actual, compensatory and exemplary damages; pre- and post-judgment interest; and attorney’s fees, expenses and costs.
The plaintiff is represented by Matthew Moreland, Kevin Klibert, Salvadore Christina Jr. and Daniel E. Becnel Jr. of the Becnel Law Firm in Reserve, La.
U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana, case no. 2:15-cv-00978-JCZ-MBN.