Robert G. Abrams

Partner

Washington, D.C.
T +1 202.861.1699  |  F +1 202.861.1783

Bob Abrams leads BakerHostetler's Antitrust and Competition practice team and guides a team of attorneys with great depth and strength in the litigation and trial of antitrust cases, including class actions. The Antitrust group also has significant experience in mergers and acquisitions, and its partners have been point persons in dealing with the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission on the antitrust aspects of clearing transactions. Bob has more than 30 years of experience litigating and trying antitrust and complex commercial and government enforcement matters. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and is ranked in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business in the area of Antitrust.

Bob's experience as a trial and litigation strategist spans practice areas, and he has been lead counsel in lengthy antitrust, intellectual property, trade secret, and breach of contract jury trials, representing both plaintiffs and defendants. He has argued in most of the U.S. Courts of Appeals, presenting cases involving distribution and other business practices, the Alien Torts Claims Act, and constitutional law issues. He has also defended clients in enforcement actions initiated by the DOJ, the FTC, EPA, and the California Air Resources Board. He was counsel in one of the largest FTC proceedings ever filed and was also lead counsel in one of the largest Clean Air Act enforcement actions in history. Bob tried a major class action on behalf of the defendant, ExxonMobil, and, as lead plaintiffs' counsel, recently settled a major class action, for more than $300 million and effective conduct changes on behalf of dairy farmers in 14 southeastern states, that was recognized as one of the six leading antitrust cases in 2012 by Global Competition Review.

Select Experience

  • Lead attorney (class counsel) representing a certified class of dairy farmers located in 14 Southeastern States against Dairy Farmers of America, Dean Foods, and a number of other defendants in an action alleging violations of Section 1 of the Sherman Act. There has been final approval of settlements of more than $300 million, along with agreed reform of significant business practices. In re Southeastern Milk Antitrust Litigation (MDL 1899—E.D. Tenn.)
  • Plaintiff/client sought indemnity arising out of a 2009 explosion of a food manufacturing plant in Garner, North Carolina. After a four week jury trial in Omaha, Nebraska, the jury returned a $108.9 million verdict (which was Plaintiffs’ request and two times the largest verdict received in Nebraska as of that time—March 2016).  This verdict was recognized by the National Law Journal as a “Top 50 Verdict” of 2016 in its Elite Trial Lawyers report. Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. v. ConAgra Foods, Inc. Case No. Cl 14-387.*
  • Plaintiff sought damages of more than $420 million from client based on claims of breach of a software license agreement, copyright infringement, and misappropriation of trade secrets. Client pursued counterclaims of $2 million for breach of contract and fraud. The jury returned a verdict in favor of plaintiff for $5.5 million and in favor of client for $500,000. HotSamba Inc. v. Caterpillar Inc.

*Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome

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Experience

  • Lead attorney (class counsel) representing a certified class of dairy farmers located in 14 Southeastern States against Dairy Farmers of America, Dean Foods, and a number of other defendants in an action alleging violations of Section 1 of the Sherman Act. There has been final approval of settlements of more than $300 million, along with agreed reform of significant business practices. In re Southeastern Milk Antitrust Litigation (MDL 1899—E.D. Tenn.)
  • Plaintiff/client sought indemnity arising out of a 2009 explosion of a food manufacturing plant in Garner, North Carolina. After a four week jury trial in Omaha, Nebraska, the jury returned a $108.9 million verdict (which was Plaintiffs’ request and two times the largest verdict received in Nebraska as of that time—March 2016).  This verdict was recognized by the National Law Journal as a “Top 50 Verdict” of 2016 in its Elite Trial Lawyers report. Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. v. ConAgra Foods, Inc. Case No. Cl 14-387.*
  • Plaintiff sought damages of more than $420 million from client based on claims of breach of a software license agreement, copyright infringement, and misappropriation of trade secrets. Client pursued counterclaims of $2 million for breach of contract and fraud. The jury returned a verdict in favor of plaintiff for $5.5 million and in favor of client for $500,000. HotSamba Inc. v. Caterpillar Inc.
  • Led the defense and resolution of one of the largest Clean Air Act enforcement matters in history—an industry-wide investigation by EPA and California concerning diesel fuel emissions. United States v. Caterpillar Inc., et al.
  • Client filed suit alleging ownership and inventorship of patents issued to defendant, misappropriation of trade secrets and conversion of various patent rights. The jury found for plaintiff and the court ordered a constructive trust imposed over the two patents and ordered defendant to assign right, title, and interest in both patents and the applications from which they were derived. After the jury verdict was reversed and the case remanded for a new trial, the jury again found for plaintiff and the district court again ordered the same relief. During the first jury trial, after the jury left for the day, the court conducted a bench trial regarding defendant's inventorship claim involving plaintiff's patent. The trial court rendered a decision in defendant's favor, with no money damages. Client appealed and the Federal Circuit reversed and rendered judgment in client's favor. Caterpillar Inc. v. Sturman Industries et al.
  • Represented client in a class action brought by service station dealers alleging breach of contract involving client's Discount for Cash Marketing Program. The plaintiffs sought $1 billion in damages, including interest. The first trial of this case resulted in a hung jury; the retrial resulted in a verdict for the plaintiffs. Allapattah Services, Inc. et al. v. Exxon Corp.
  • Plaintiffs alleged violations of Sherman Act sections 1 and 2, claiming that client dominated the replacement parts business for client’s machines by eliminating parts competitors while seeking to raise prices. The court directed a verdict in favor of client on the antitrust claims and the jury returned a verdict for client on the remaining state law claims. The verdict was affirmed on appeal. Godix Equipment Export Corp., et al. v. Caterpillar Inc.

*Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome

Recognitions

  • American College of Trial Lawyers: Fellow
  • Chambers USAAntitrust in the District of Columbia (2013 to 2016)
  • The Legal 500 United States (2014 to 2016)
    • Recommended in Antitrust - Civil litigation/class actions
  • National Law Journal "Litigation Trailblazer" (2016)
  • Martindale-Hubbell: AV Preeminent
  • Washington, D.C."Super Lawyer" (2009, 2013 to 2016)

Memberships

  • American Bar Association
    • Litigation Section
    • Antitrust Section
    • Intellectual Property Section
  • Pro Bono Institute: Annual Gala Co-Chair (2007)

Pro Bono

  • Established groundbreaking pro bono partnership between former firm and a major client in which the client's in-house attorneys and firm attorneys worked together on matters for pro bono clients.

Services

Prior Positions

  • Howrey & Simon - Howrey LLP (1973 to 2011)
  • Law clerk for the Honorable William E. Doyle for the U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit (1972 to 1973)

Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
  • All U.S. Courts of Appeals
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
  • District of Columbia

Education

  • J.D., The George Washington University Law School, 1972, cum laude; Managing Editor, George Washington University Law Review, 1971 to 1972
  • B.A., Colgate University, 1968

Blog

In The Blogs

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Antitrust Advocate
The Antitrust Points of View of Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch
February 21, 2017
Last March, we wrote a series of articles discussing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s antitrust legacy on the Supreme Court. We noted Scalia’s admitted discomfort with the Sherman Act, specifically with holding corporate defendants...
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Antitrust Advocate
What to Expect From FTC during Trump Administration: New Leader Illuminates
February 16, 2017
On Jan. 25, President Trump named Maureen Ohlhausen as the Federal Trade Commission’s acting chairwoman. A recent speech by Ohlhausen, who has served as a commissioner for the FTC since 2012, shed some light on the role the FTC may have...
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Antitrust Advocate
Carl Hittinger Examines American Monopolists through the Lens of History, Politics
February 2, 2017
Partner Carl Hittinger has authored a series of articles for The Legal Intelligencer that explores the history of select American monopolists by posing two fundamental questions: Why have some monopolists succeeded in gaining, maintaining...
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Antitrust Advocate
Abrams, Commins, Foix Author Article on Antitrust Suit Counterclaims
January 23, 2017
Partners Robert Abrams, Gregory Commins and Danyll Foix authored an article published in “The Antitrust Review of the Americas 2017,” published by Global Competition Review. Their article, “United States: Private Antitrust Litigation,”...
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Antitrust Advocate
FTC Still Ramping Up Antitrust Review of Health Care Mergers
December 15, 2016
Last month, we reported on the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) steady filing of injunctions to block what are effectively local mergers of small health care providers. In 2007, the FTC filed suit in Saint Alphonsus Medical Center v. St...
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