McKool Smith, one of America’s leading trial firms, represented Red Lion Medical Safety, Inc. and 16 other plaintiffs in securing a $131.4 million verdict against General Electric Company (“GE”) in a jury trial concerning allegations that GE engaged in anticompetitive conduct in the servicing of anesthesia machines.
The verdict was announced on April 26, 2017, after a seven-day trial before Honorable Judge Robert W. Schroeder III in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The jury awarded actual damages of $43,803,344. Under federal law, the damages are automatically trebled to $131.4 million. Potential injunctive relief and attorney fees will be determined by a judge at a later date.
GE is one of the largest manufacturers of anesthesia gas machines in the country. The plaintiffs alleged that the company ceased selling parts for anesthesia machines at list prices in 2011, and appointed Alpha Source Inc. as the sole supplier of parts, which hurt competition. The plaintiffs further alleged GE appointed Alpha Source in order to raise costs to the plaintiffs and to delay their response and repair time.
The main allegation against GE was that it created a policy that made it impossible for the plaintiffs to get their service technicians trained on new models of GE machines. This restriction on training would have forced all of the plaintiffs out of business within five years—conduct the plaintiffs alleged to be in violation of the antitrust laws. The jury agreed.
“The jury worked very hard to consider the facts and weigh the evidence,” said McKool Smith principal Sam Baxter, lead trial lawyer for the plaintiffs. “The verdict was a call for fairness in business, and it was a real victory for the little guys that were brave enough to take on a major corporation. We are delighted with the jury’s verdict.”
The 17 plaintiffs include companies that service and/or refurbish GE anesthesia machines throughout the United States: Red Lion Medical Safety, Inc.; Universal Medical Services, Inc.; Metropolitan Medical Services of NC, Inc.; Biomedical Concepts; Anesthesia Services, Inc.; Diversified Anesthesia; Paragon Service; Bay State Anesthesia, Inc.; POPN, Inc.; Gasmedix, LLC; West Coast Anesthesia Specialists, Inc.; Gulfstream Anesthesia Service Inc. (d/b/a Doctor’s Depot); Palo Verde Biomedical Consultants, LLC; Medical Application Repair and Sales, LLC; Heartland Medical Sales & Services, LLC; SAS Acquisitions, Inc.; and Trinity Biomedical Solutions, Inc.
The McKool Smith trial team included: Sam Baxter, John Briody, Jennifer Truelove, Radu Lelutiu, James Smith, and Dustin Howell. Paul F. Ferguson Jr. of The Ferguson Law Firm and Paul Bartlett Jr. were also part of the legal team.
The case is Red Lion Medical Safety, Inc. et al vs. General Electric Company, 2:15-cv-00308, Eastern District of Texas.
With more than 180 trial lawyers across offices in Austin, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Marshall, New York, Silicon Valley, and Washington, D.C., McKool Smith has established a reputation as one of America’s leading trial firms. Since 2006, the firm has secured ten nine-figure jury verdicts and ten eight-figure jury verdicts. The firm has also won more VerdictSearch and The National Law Journal "Top 100 Verdicts" over the last ten years than any other law firm in the country. Courtroom successes like these have earned McKool Smith critical acclaim and helped the firm become what The Wall Street Journal describes as “one of the biggest law firm success stories of the past decade.” McKool Smith represents clients in complex commercial litigation, intellectual property, bankruptcy, and white collar defense matters.