Ann M. O'Brien

Partner

Washington, D.C.
T +1.202.861.1650
F +1.202.861.1783
Philadelphia
T +1.215.568.3100
F +1.215.568.3439

Overview

Ann O'Brien advises manufacturers, distributors and retailers on price gouging and related issues, including responding to consumer complaints and providing guidance on compliance measures. Through her counsel and representation, Ann draws on her experience at the Department of Justice as the Antitrust Division representative on the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, as well as a member of the Grant Fraud Working Group and Oil and Gas Price Fraud Working Group. Ann utilizes this experience by working with companies that have pivoted their business models to create, distribute and sell high-demand products. Notably, she has advised on the selling and reselling of personal protective equipment (PPE), medical equipment, disinfectants and other products in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ann frequently speaks and writes on price gouging issues, and has been involved in numerous webinars related to the topic.

Select Experience

Pricing Strategy and Price Gouging Experience
  • Provides concise counsel on pricing strategies for essential products and adherence with federal, state and local price gouging laws during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Assists clients with responding to state, local and Congressional letters regarding price gouging complaints for personal protective equipment (including masks), disinfectant products, food and household goods sold during the COVID-19 crisis.
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Experience

Pricing Strategy and Price Gouging Experience
  • Provides concise counsel on pricing strategies for essential products and adherence with federal, state and local price gouging laws during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Assists clients with responding to state, local and Congressional letters regarding price gouging complaints for personal protective equipment (including masks), disinfectant products, food and household goods sold during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Served as primary drafter of the DOJ Antitrust Division's 2019 antitrust compliance guidance, providing insight on the evaluation of corporate antitrust programs and other compliance measures.

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division
    • Assistant Attorney General Award (2006, 2015)
    • Special Achievement Award (2009)
  • Counsel of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency: Award for Excellence (2013)
  • U.S. General Services Administration OIG: Special Recognition Award (2012)

Community

  • CYO Youth Basketball Coach (2018)
  • Justice Department Child Development Center, Just Us Kids
    • Vice President (2016 to 2017)
    • Board Member (2015 to 2016)
  • Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament Parish and School
    • Giving Tree Holiday Gift Giving Program: Coordinator (2014 to 2016)
    • School Advisory Board, Strategic Planning Extracurricular Committee: Member (2015 to 2018)

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Prior Positions

  • U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division:
    • Competition Policy & Advocacy Section: Assistant Chief
    • Office of the Assistant Attorney General: Acting Director of Criminal Enforcement
    • Washington Criminal II Section: Assistant Chief
    • Office of the Assistant Attorney General: Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General (AAG)
    • Office of Criminal Enforcement: Senior Counsel to the Deputy AAG for Criminal Enforcement
    • Office of Operations: Special Assistant to the Directors of Civil and Criminal Enforcement
    • Cleveland Field Office: Trial Attorney
  • U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maryland: Special Assistant U.S. Attorney
  • The Honorable Deborah A. Robinson, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia: Law Clerk

Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • Maryland
  • District of Columbia

Education

  • J.D., Northeastern University School of Law, 1999
  • B.A., Government and International Studies, University of Notre Dame, 1996

Blog

In The Blogs

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Data Counsel
Ann O'Brien, Jeewon Serrato, Alyse Stach Author Article Examining Privacy and Antitrust Issues
By Ann M. O'Brien, Jeewon K. Serrato, Alyse F. Stach
June 29, 2020
Partners Ann O’Brien and Jeewon Serrato and Associate Alyse Stach authored an article published by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) on June 23, 2020. The article, “The Thin Line Between Privacy and Antitrust,”...
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Antitrust Advocate
Limits of State Action Protection for Colleges and Universities
By Brady P. P. Cummins, Ann M. O'Brien
June 11, 2020
A recently filed antitrust complaint against Duke University (Duke) provides a fresh reminder for colleges and universities that the state action immunity doctrine is unlikely to be a complete shield from antitrust liability even if a...
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Antitrust Advocate
1-800 Contacts Settles Class Action Lawsuit With Roots in FTC Action
By Darley Maw, Ann M. O'Brien
May 21, 2020
Back in 2016, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued 1-800 Contacts, claiming the online retailer devised an anticompetitive scheme with other online lens retailers to restrict search terms. The FTC argued that 1-800 Contacts and its...
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AD-ttorneys Law Blog
No More Blurry Searches: 1-800 Contacts Settles Class Action Lawsuit Alleging Search Term Restraints
By Darley Maw, Ann M. O'Brien
May 21, 2020
Last week, mega-online retailer 1-800 Contacts settled claims brought by a class action suit in the Central District of Utah alleging that the company was the mastermind of a scheme to prevent competition in the online contact lens market...
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Antitrust Advocate
COVID-19: Pricing During COVID-19 Without Gouging or Fixing
By Jeanne-Michele Mariani, Ann M. O'Brien
April 10, 2020
As antitrust counsel, we have done our best to keep up to date with the latest news coming from the federal and state governments on price gouging and efforts to combat shortages and hoarding of PPE. Today, we write to provide a few more...
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