WILLIAM J. BLECHMAN

Shareholder
  • Four Seasons Tower
    1441 Brickell Avenue, Suite 1100
    Miami, FL 33131

  • (305) 373-1000
  • wblechman@knpa.com

  

WILLIAM J. BLECHMAN

William “Bill” Blechman’s practice concentrates on antitrust law, predominately on the plaintiff’s side. An experienced trial lawyer, Bill typically represents the specific client interests as plaintiffs of large public and private companies and entrepreneurs. He does not engage in plaintiff’s class actions.

Bill’s antitrust practice focuses on dominant firm conduct and conspiracies (i.e., cartels) in restraint of trade. He has represented clients in a broad array of industries, including pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, retail and wholesale grocery, electronics, airlines, railroads, shipping, construction, beverages, telecommunications and electronic payments. Over the last 15 years, he has devoted considerable time to litigating the law and economics of two-sided electronic platform markets. 

Bill has participated in the civil prosecution of more than 25 domestic or international conspiracies and been lead counsel in nearly all of the firm’s cartel cases. He assists multinational corporations in formulating and implementing measured and principled strategies to maximize recoveries in these cases. His cartel practice spans the United States, Europe and Asia, and involves proceedings incident to enforcement actions by the United States Department of Justice or foreign competition authorities. 

Bill has represented an individual company, or group of companies, in the following federal antitrust direct (i.e., non-class) actions that are representative of the type and range of antitrust work that he has done and continues to do:

  • He represented multinational automobile manufacturers in an antitrust action against their suppliers for conspiring to fix prices of ferroalloys.
  • He represented national supermarket chains, drug store chains, a multinational rental car company, multinational cruise line companies, an airline, and national automotive supply firms in antitrust actions against the major 4-party payment card networks for conspiring not to compete and monopolization of certain markets.
  • He represented national retailers in an antitrust action against the major 3-party payment card network for contracts in restraint of trade and monopolization of certain markets.
  • He represented a multinational tire manufacturer in the prosecution of several international cartels involving key products in the company’s supply chain.
  • He represented consumer products companies in a multidistrict antitrust case against the major integrated manufacturers of linerboard and corrugated boxes.
  • He represented national chains with drug stores in an antitrust action against the manufacturers of generic drugs for conspiring to fix prices.
  • He represented the Attorneys General of several States in prosecuting (or advising about) bid rigging cases involving dairy, road construction, and school bus contracts.
  • He represented a low fare airline in a predatory pricing case against a legacy carrier. In the case, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled for the low fare carrier on its predation claims – a landmark decision with implications not just for the airline industry but for other industries as well. The decision is the only time that an airline has prevailed on a predation claim in an appellate court, and one of the few appellate decisions for a plaintiff on a predation claim.
  • He represented national drug store chains in a price discrimination action against branded drug manufacturers.
  • He represented a steel company in a multidistrict antitrust action against domestic and foreign suppliers of materials used to make steel.
  • He represented national retailers in a multi-district antitrust action against the major producers of shelf-stable packaged seafood products for conspiring to fix prices.
  • He represented national mattress manufacturers in a multidistrict antitrust action against their polyurethane foam suppliers for conspiring to fix prices.
  • He represented a multi-national consumer products company in several multidistrict antitrust actions against suppliers for conspiring to fix prices of a number of food supplements.
  • He represented another multinational consumer products company in a multidistrict antitrust action involving an international conspiracy to fix prices of a chemical used in consumer products.
  • He represented six of the ten largest producers of vitamins for human consumption in the United States, including the largest such firm, in a multidistrict antitrust action concerning an international cartel of vitamin manufacturers.
  • He represented a national retailer in an antitrust action against foreign manufacturers and their domestic distributors for conspiring to fix prices of a consumer electronics component.
  • He represented multinational firms in an antitrust action against Jones Act shippers for conspiring to fix prices.
  • He represented pulp and paper manufacturers, consumer products companies, and building materials companies in a multidistrict antitrust action against the major railroads for conspiring to fix prices.

REPRESENTATIVE INDUSTRIES AND PRODUCTS SUBJECT TO ANTITRUST DIRECT (i.e. NON-CLASS) ACTIONS: telecommunications; electronic payments; airlines; construction; health care; pharmaceuticals; shipping; consumer products; transportation; construction; manufacturing; currency exchanges; citric acid; rubber processing chemicals; vitamins; packaged seafood; ferrosilicon; monosodium glutamate; polyurethane foam; pharmaceuticals; parcel tanker freight rates; cathode ray tubes; Jones Act shipping rates; nitrile rubber; hydrogen peroxide; ethylene propylene diene monomer; nucleotides; styrene butadiene rubber; sodium perborate; graphite electrodes; polychloroprene.

REPRESENTATIVE DIRECT (i.e. NON-CLASS) ACTION ANTITRUST CASES: General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Company and Chrysler Corporation v. Elkem Metals Co. etc. (W.D. Pa.); Unilever United States, Inc. v. Daicel Ltd. (N.D. Cal.); The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company v. Bayer AG (N.D. Oh.); Kroger Co., Safeway, Inc., etc. v. Visa USA, MasterCard International etc. (E.D.N.Y.); Spirit Airlines, Inc. v. Northwest Airlines, Inc. (E.D. Mich.); Leiner Health Products Co., NBTY Inc. etc. v. F. Hoffmann-LaRoche Ltd., etc. (D.D.C.); Republic Engineered Steels v. SGL Carbon AG etc. (E.D. Pa.); ConAgra Foods Co., etc. v. International Paper Co., etc. (W.D. Pa.); Reckitt Benckiser Inc. v. Solvay S.A., etc. (E.D. Pa.); Sealy Corp, Serta, Simmons Bedding, Tempur-Pedic, La-Z-Boy etc. v. Carpenter Co. etc. (N.D. Oh.); State of Michigan ex rel. Frank Kelly v. Hoekstra Bus Co. etc. (W.D. Mich.); Ad-Vantage Telephone Directory Consultants, Inc. v. GTE Directories Corporation (M.D. Fla.); Walgreen Co., Albertson’s et al. v. American Express (S.D.N.Y.); Sears v. Chunghwa Picture Tubes, Ltd. (N.D. Cal.); Kraft Heinz, UPM Kymmene, Cemex etc. v. Union Pacific Railroad Co. etc. (D.D.C.).

While antitrust work dominates his practice, Bill has a niche practice representing whistleblowers in claims brought under the Federal or a State False Claims Act. These cases place a premium on coordination with Federal and State law enforcement agencies. He has represented whistleblowers, as relators (or plaintiffs), in False Claims Act cases in the defense, health care, and education industries.

Bill has taught pretrial procedure and practice at a law school, lectured and published papers on antitrust law, and taught seminars on various other topics in the law. His writings have been published in law reviews, legal textbooks, business newspapers, and other periodicals. In particular, he was a contributor to the ABA Antitrust Section’s Response to the European Commission’s “Green Paper: Damages Actions for Breach of EC Antitrust Rules.” He was a contributor to the ABA Antitrust Section’s 2008 Transition Report on the Justice Department for the Obama Administration. He was a contributor to the chapter on “U.S. Law and Practice” in Chambers’ Cartels 2020.

He is the past Vice Chair of the Cartel and Criminal Practice Committee of the ABA Section on Antitrust, and the past Co-Chair of the Section’s Trial Practice Committee.

Bill’s community service takes several forms. He is a member of the National Board of Directors of the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues.  NAUDL is the national leader in the urban debate movement and provides debate programming to urban middle and high school students. Bill is an officer of the Blechman Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, an IRS § 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization dedicated to raising awareness about and scientific funding for Parkinson’s Disease. Bill also endows the Julius A. Greenhouse Scholarship at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry, which funds loans to fourth year dental students to provide dental services in under-served communities in the U.S. and abroad.

Bill was born in Miami Beach, Florida. He earned his B.A., with honors, from Harvard College, and his J.D., with honors, from the University of Miami School of Law, where he served as an editor on the Law Review. Following law school, he clerked for the Honorable Jose A. Gonzalez, Jr., United States District Judge for the Southern District of Florida.

  • Harvard College, B.A., with honors, 1979
  • University of Miami, J.D., with honors, 1983
    • University of Miami Law Review, 1982–1983
  • Florida, 1983
  • Supreme Court of the State of Florida, 1983
  • District of Columbia, 1984
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, 1985
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, 1986
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1990
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, 2012
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, 2015
  • The Florida Bar
    • Board Certified, Antitrust and Trade Regulation Law, 2006
    • Vice-Chair, Antitrust & Trade Regulation Law Certification Committee, Term 7/1/2020-6/30/2021
    • Business Law Section
  • American Bar Association
    • Vice-Chair, Cartel and Criminal Practice Committee, Antitrust Section, 2010–2013
    • Litigation Section
    • Co-Chair, Trial Practice Committee, Antitrust Section, 2004–2007
  • National Association for Urban Debate Leagues (NAUDL)
    • Member, National Board of Directors
  • Blechman Foundation for Parkinson’s Research
    • Member, Board of Directors
  • Adjunct Instructor, University of Miami School of Law, 1997–1999
  • Co-Author: “USA: Law & Practice,” Chambers Global Practice Guide on Cartels 2020
  • Co-Author: “USA: Trends & Developments,” Chambers Global Practice Guide on Cartels 2020
  • Co-Author: “Opting-Out of a Representative Lawsuit: A Principled Decision,” International Cartel Workshop, ABA Antitrust Section, February 2010
  • Contributor, American Bar Association Section of Antitrust Law 2008 Transition Report on Justice Department for the Obama Administration
  • Author: “Why Twombly Does Not (and Should Not) Apply to Hard-Core Cartels,” Antitrust Source, October 2007
    Contributor, ABA Antitrust Section Response to European Commission’s “Green Paper: Damages Actions for Breach of EC Antitrust Rules,” 2004
  • Author: “Blowing The Whistle On Health Care Fraud,” Business & Health Magazine, November 1997
  • Author: “Whistleblowers Profit, Companies Pay,” Miami Review, A7, 1994
  • Author: “Private Injunctive Relief Under RICO,” 2 Civil RICO Rep. (BNA) Part 2, September 24, 1986
  • Author: “Agent Orange and the Government Contract Defense: Are Military Manufacturers Immune from Products Liability?” 36 University of Miami Law Review 489, 1982, reprinted in Yearbook of Procurement Articles 181, 1983
  • Author: “The Government Contract Defense,” in L. Frumer & M. Friedman, Products Liability,” Matthew Bender, 1983
  • Co-Author: “Basis of Observed Resistance of L1210 Leukemia in Mice to Combinations of Six Antimetabolites,” 41 Cancer Research 4529, 1981
  • Law Clerk, Hon. Jose A. Gonzalez, Jr., U.S. District Judge, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, 1983–1985
  • Special Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust, State of Michigan, 1994–1999

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