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1
General Board / BAR REVIEW FINAL COMPLAINT PART 5
« on: August 28, 2007, 09:36:21 PM »
63.   Consistent with its monopoly status and the behavior of other monopolists, BAR/BRI has also reduced the quality of the course services it provides to plaintiffs, for example, increasingly replacing live lectures with video lectures, then curtailing student questions even at such live lectures.
64.   By reason of the violations of the federal antitrust laws alleged herein, Plaintiffs will be injured in their business and property and suffer substantial damages in an amount presently undetermined, unless the injunctive relief sought here is granted.
CLAIM ONE
UNLAWFUL MONOPOLIZATION; VIOLATION OF SECTION 2
OF THE SHERMAN ACT
65.   Paragraphs 1 to 64 are incorporated by reference herein.
66.   BAR/BRI has monopolized the full-service bar review course market in the United States in violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2.
67.   BAR/BRI has unlawfully acquired and/or maintained a monopoly of the full-service bar review course market through the ways and means set forth above.
68.   As a direct and proximate result of BAR/BRI’s abuse of its monopoly power, competition in the full-service bar review course market has been substantially restrained, and meaningful new entry is substantially unlikely to occur.
69.   Unless BAR/BRI’s anticompetitive acts as alleged herein are enjoined by this Court, there is a reasonable probability that it will continue to monopolize the full-service bar review course submarket and will continue to unreasonably restrict and eliminate competition therein.
70.   BAR/BRI’s monopolization of the full-service bar review course market will injure Plaintiffs in at least the following ways:
a.   The prices of the full-service bar review courses they purchase will be far higher than they would be but for its violation of the antitrust laws; and,
b.   Opportunities to choose among various courses, each with its own unique attributes, that would be available in the absence of the unlawful course of conduct alleged herein, have been lost to Plaintiffs; and
71.   Plaintiffs have been required to retain the law firms of the Disner Law Corporation and Harris and Ruble to prosecute this claim and to suffer all the burdens that accrue from the prosecution of this case. 
72.   Plaintiffs will be substantially damaged unless the Court orders appropriate injunctive relief herein, including but not limited to the creation of a fully-operational, competitive, full-service bar review business capable of competing successfully against it throughout the United States, pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 26.
73.   Should Plaintiffs and the Class prevail herein, they are also entitled to a reasonable multiple of the lodestar of the reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs accrued by them herein, pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 15(a). 
WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs pray for judgment as follows:
1.   As to their claim for violation of section 2 of the Sherman Act (15 U.S.C. § 2) that West be held liable pursuant thereto; ;
2.   That appropriate injunctive relief be entered, including an order creating a fully-operational, competitive, full-service bar review business capable of competing successfully against Bar/Bri throughout the United States, and other equitable relief needed to ameliorate its wrongdoing here, all to be provided pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 26;   
3.   That Plaintiffs obtain for their reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs to be determined according to pertinent case law authority (15 U.S.C. § 15(a)); and
4.   That Plaintiffs have the costs of suit incurred herein by them and such other further relief as the Court deems just and proper.

DATED:  August 7, 2007   DISNER LAW CORPORATION

   By:   
   Eliot G. Disner
A Professional Corporation
Attorneys for Plaintiffs


2
General Board / BAR REVIEW COMPLAINT PART 4
« on: August 28, 2007, 09:35:09 PM »
47.   Rigos.    Rigos is a course operated in, and for, Washington State.  Like Supreme in Ohio, it is one of the few surviving competitors of BAR/BRI.  Rigos has been the victim of substantial anticompetitive activity by BAR/BRI in Washington State, including defamation about its principal and its course, misstatements about its (BAR/BRI's) passing percentages versus Rigos', contamination of Rigos' customer relations and more.  Most notable about Rigos here, however, is the declaration its principal has filed in connection with the repeated breaking and entering into his offices just after he was listed as a witness in the case Rodriquez v. West Publishing Corporation CV 05-3222R. (True copy is Ex. 1 hereto). 
48.   The Rigos declaration contains a lengthy list of predatory acts inflicted by BAR/BRI and calculated to eliminate the Rigos threat to its monopoly. They include employing faculty of Washington law schools to promote BAR/BRI while teaching, repeatedly chilling free speech by baselessly threatening Rigos' student reps personally with lawsuits claiming false advertising and defamation, threatening Rigos with litigation repeatedly for passing percentage representations (which were accurate), refusing to submit such records, from both companies, to an audit, and starting rumors that Rigos is about to go out of business.
49.   As in Ohio, BAR/BRI also attracts those leaning to Rigos by offering them "scholarships" to take the BAR/BRI course!  BAR/BRI also "blood-dopes" its own performance, should passing percentage ever be required or otherwise discernible, by providing scholarships to law review and similar high achieving students at various law schools in Washington. These are students who are almost certain to pass the bar exam, whatever course they take.
50.   Regarding the burglaries, Rigos' office was recently broken into or otherwise electronically invaded four times (the only such act in 26 years of Rigos' occupying said office).  During those burglaries, all that was taken were competitive marketing materials for his course and information about BAR/BRI.  BAR/BRI employs on its staff a reputed former FBI agent in San Francisco (one Dennis Clisham, by name) who on information and belief would think little before causing such activities to occur, having, in fact, engineered a similar break-in at the Santa Monica offices of then competitor BarPassers some years earlier.
51.   The first burglary occurred just four days after Rigos was first listed by Plaintiffs as a possible witness in the Rodriquez case  The electronic hacking of its replaced hard drive occurred just days later.  The final burglary occurred just a few days after Rigos' owner was contacted by BAR/BRI counsel for the first time and Rigos' principal hung up on said counsel, as they endeavored to interrogate him.  This Court will be requested to assist in efforts to get to the bottom of the unusual events that so coincidentally surrounded Rigos just after he was listed as a witness in that case, so that such witness tampering does not impact this case too.
52.   Saccuzzo.    The Saccuzzos (husband and wife) essentially built a "better mousetrap,” i.e., a course which served to be a far more successful vehicle for improving the passage rates of its attendees, particularly for lesser performing law school graduates. The Saccuzzos, psychologists and lawyers, apparently concluded that there was a substantial psychological component in many of those who failed the bar exam.  By blending their knowledge of psychology with the law, they were able to achieve substantially improved passing results in two second-tier law schools in the San Diego area.  For example, it was recently announced that at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, its students who took Saccuzzo's course, Bar Secrets, passed the bar 16% more than those who took the "other" course. 
53.   When BAR/BRI learned of this superior course, one that could presumably threaten its entire existence, if rolled out by a new competitor across the country with a joint venture or license, it took steps to immediately destroy it.  It did so by interfering substantially with Saccuzzos' relationship with at least one of the two San Diego area law schools in question.  It contributed substantial resources to that school to divert business from Saccuzzo to BAR/BRI.  Then, various student reps and faculty members at that school were co-opted to badmouth Saccuzzo's course, notwithstanding it was indisputably superior to BAR/BRI's in terms of passing percentages, ultimately the only relevant marketing criterion. 
54.   BAR/BRI employee Tara Shaw went so far as to write letters to potential Saccuzzo customers advising them of the purported superiority of its course, in part by making representations about Saccuzzo’s passing percentages that were misleading, if not outright false. After this onslaught of anticompetitive activity, BAR/BRI offered to the Saccuzzos the "comfort" of employment with BAR/BRI, much like it offered employment to Marino's principal years earlier.
55.   LexisNexis.    LexisNexis (“Lexis”) is West's principal competitor.  In approximately 2001, Lexis purchased a variety of courses and related assets from Harcourt which included the BAR/BRI business.  Shortly thereafter, it sold BAR/BRI and various other assets to West.  On information and belief, the various agreements entered into at the time do not reflect any written non-compete agreements with Lexis, the type that might be incident to the sale of an asset and might even be legitimate if made at the time. 
56.   However, there is joint marketing activity between Lexis and West outside the U.S., in Hong Kong in connection with the BAR/BRI bar review course.  There, apparently, for ex patriates or others who wish to take an American bar exam, BAR/BRI offers a course that purports to be a “Lexis/Nexis… course.”  In addition, prior to the purchase of BAR/BRI by Lexis, the two companies had a marketing agreement.  On information and belief West and Lexis have entered into an agreement wherein among other things Lexis will not compete against BAR/BRI in the United States.  Upon the taking of discovery, Plaintiffs expect to learn West's quid pro quo for this understanding. Such a market division agreement violates section 1 of the Sherman Act (15 U.S.C. § 1).
57.   Other Acts.    BAR/BRI unreasonably insists on, and has routinely obtained, numerous agreements from faculty and staff prohibiting their working for or otherwise assisting any other bar review course provider should they depart BAR/BRI;
58.   BAR/BRI has engaged in the continuing practice of tearing down, otherwise removing, or preventing the posting of, the signs, placards and related promotional materials of local bar review course competitors at various law schools in the U.S., including by the means set forth in paragraph 45 above.
59.   BAR/BRI has paid so-called “consulting” fees to various law school administrators at least, in part, to assure that BAR/BRI maintains preferential, if not unique, access to the use of such law schools’ assembly and common areas for marketing and related purposes and to further assure that any potential competitors will be unable to obtain such access.
INJURY TO PLAINTIFFS
60.   During the period covered by this Complaint, Plaintiffs intend to purchase at least one bar review preparation course by 2010.  As a direct result of Defendants’ monopolization, Plaintiffs have little choice but to pay far more for the course(s) they purchase than they would in the absence of such wrongful acts. 
61.   In the recent past, BAR/BRI’s course has cost each consumer about the following amounts:  $3,100 in California, $2750 in Florida, $2600 in Illinois, $2700 in Maryland, $2800 in New York, $2500 in Pennsylvania, $2600 in Texas, $2750 in Virginia, and comparably supra-competitive price levels elsewhere in the United States, except in those few states where state bar or similar rules put a cap on BAR/BRI’s pricing (e.g., Iowa) or isolated local competition remains (such as in Indiana).  In addition, BAR/BRI imposes an effectively non-refundable book charge, repeat fees, add-on (second state preparation) fees, plus other penalties and charges that have increased substantially over the last several years and now average hundreds of additional dollars of cost per student per year.
62.   Alternative and superior competitive and copyrighted course materials and instructional approaches have been acquired by BAR/BRI, which have then been suppressed by it, then unavailable to, and unused by, others.  The effect of this factor is that Plaintiffs will be deprived of the right to choose among such alternative materials and approaches when they graduate.  Plus, a potential competitor faces a possible copyright infringement claim if it prepares such materials for its own use, as it must.  This has further suppressed competitive choices.

3
General Board / BAR REVIEW COMPLAINT PART 3
« on: August 28, 2007, 09:34:09 PM »
For more information email me at smrt4ucr2002@yahoo.com



33.   West Publishing was acquired by a Canadian company Thomson in 1996.  Shortly thereafter, Thomson decided to sell West Bar.  West had proved to be a viable competitor to BAR/BRI which by the summer of 1997 course had already earned a gross profit.  For whatever reason West's new owner at the time Thomson wanted no part of the bar review business and put WestBar up on the block.
34.   West transferred to BAR/BRI pertinent assets of West Bar in the fall of 1997, eschewing at the time other less anticompetitive potential and viable acquirers. Without substantial competition, BAR/BRI's net prices per student then increased substantially in most states. 
35.   BAR/BRI also acquired WestBar's superior academic materials and the right to provide a course to some 20-plus thousand students previously signed up to take the WestBar course.  Also, it "bought" the right to close out WestBar's nationwide infrasturcture which was formed, in part, by acquiring other local and regional courses in existence at the time.  With that one stroke, BAR/BRI's monopoly was all but cast into cement. This acquisition violated at least Section 7 of the Clayton Act (15 U.S.C. § 18.)
36.   In 2001, West returned to the full-service bar review business when it purchased the BAR/BRI business for a sum believed to be more than $200 million, a far higher price than BAR/BRI paid for West Bar’s burgeoning, competitive, bar review course assets in 1997.   The substantial price difference is due to the fact that the acquisition of West Bar’s assets by BAR/BRI eliminated the only viable competitor in the market, or likely to be in the market, for the foreseeable future.  (Boardwalk and Park Place are, of course, worth far, far more when owned by one player than by two in the Monopoly game. This economic truism readily explains the greater value attached to the consolidated bar review course business acquired by West Publishing to re-enter this market.  Here, of course, West owns virtually all of Parker Brothers' Atlantic City.) 
37.   Notwithstanding West's claim of its erstwhile bar review course business’s purported lack of “fit” within Thomson’s “long term strategic direction” as of 1997, BAR/BRI is now an extremely profitable business of West. 
38.   Kaplan.    Kaplan Inc., is a promoter of many exam preparation courses, including CPA, LSAT, GMAT, MCAT and GRE, but not bar review.  Kaplan did compete in the full-service bar review business briefly in the early 1990s.  Since then, it has not relented in its efforts to enter the full-service bar review business on a national scale, just as it offers it many other exam prep courses.   On July 31, 1997, Kaplan entered into a letter of intent with West Publishing to purchase the assets of West Bar.  However, within the next 10 days, executives of Kaplan and BAR/BRI secretly communicated.  As a result of these communications Kaplan withdrew its bid for West Bar, instead entered into a "co-marketing" agreement with BAR/BRI in which BAR/BRI secretly paid to Kaplan $750,000 per year, but on the condition that Kaplan secretly agree to stay out of the full-service bar review course market.  BAR/BRI and Kaplan also agreed further to “strategically” work together in the future to promote their complementary businesses. 
39.   Around the time the Kaplan/West Bar acquisition fell through, West  announced it was closing West Bar because it did not fit within its “long term strategic direction.”  As noted above, it then divested its operative bar review assets to BAR/BRI, including its students’ commitments to purchase and complete its bar review course.  Also around that time, BAR/BRI quietly wound down, at least, its LSAT preparation course. (Part of its agreement with Kaplan was that BAR/BRI would not continue its LSAT course in competition with Kaplan's dominant LSAT course.)  Bar/Bri's combination with Kaplan violated § 1 of the Sherman Act.
40.   In or about October 2006, Kaplan acquired PMBR (see paragraphs 28-29 above).  Prior to its 1997 Agreement with BAR/BRI, it sought to enter into the full service bar review business course business.  To date, however, it has not so entered the market, nor has BAR/BRI resumed the sale of a separate supplemental bar review course.  Every indication then is that Bar/Bri continues the PMBR conspiracy now with Kaplan.
41.   Louisiana.    In Louisiana, for many years there were two courses, one operated by BAR/BRI out of Tulane University (part of the West Bar acquisition) and another independently operated by Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.  In 2003, BAR/BRI acquired the right to provide the LSU course for a three-year period, and for that paid the sum of $100,000 to LSU.  LSU then withdrew from the market and BAR/BRI became a monopolist there.  Within three years, the price charged for the Louisiana bar review course had tripled!  At least one faculty member of its Louisiana course has a contract extending through 2007.  Therefore, this agreement appears to continue to the present.  In any event, no new bar review course has emerged in Louisiana since 2003. The agreement, therefore, eliminated all competition from Louisiana and violated section 1 of the Sherman Act (15 U.S.C. § 1).
42.   Supreme Bar Review.    Supreme Bar Review is a course operating in Ohio.  It is one of BAR/BRI's very few competitors.  Although Supreme is limited to Ohio, BAR/BRI has taken steps to rid the course even from that State.  BAR/BRI has used several improper devices to accomplish this task.  Throughout the country, in conjunction with the American Bar Association, BAR/BRI offers various scholarship programs providing assistance to needy students.  However, it has misused this program in Ohio and elsewhere (see Rigos below). 
43.   In Ohio, BarBri's so-called "Tuition Assistance Plan" has been offered to students who intend to take the Supreme course.  The secret purpose of the plan is to provide those students an amount of money at least equal to the price difference between the Supreme course and the BAR/BRI course, whether or not they need financial support.  The ABA never authorized its name to be associated with the competitive use of this assistance program.  The effect is to improperly divert business from Supreme to BAR/BRI.
44.   BAR/BRI has undertaken other acts to suppress Supreme and eliminate it from the market.  Particularly when Supreme first entered the market, BAR/BRI took aggressive steps to eliminate it.  Among other things, it started a rumor that Supreme would be going out of business soon, i.e., not in the market to provide courses for nervous students who might sign up with it.  It also made comparative representations about its passing percentages which were misleading, if not outright false.  In addition, it filed a federal lawsuit against Supreme seeking to have it shutdown.  After two years of costly litigation, that meretricious lawsuit failed to achieve that objective, as Supreme remains in business at the present time.
45.   Within various law schools in Ohio, BAR/BRI has also effectively co-opted so-called Student Bar Association executives who are responsible for bulletin board advertising space and the like. Important to the promotion of a bar review course, particularly a new bar review course is the right to post flyers on bulletin boards within the law schools. As it happens, in many law schools the management of those bulletin boards and other public access spaces of the same sort have been ceded by the administration to the so-called student government.  In many law schools the student government is referred to as the SBA (or Student Bar Association).  BAR/BRI has made it a practice, at least in Ohio, of approaching "executives" of such SBAs, persuading them to become BAR/BRI reps and offering them a free BAR/BRI course. Then BAR/BRI either requires or incentivizes such executives not to approve the posting of flyers on bulletin boards of competing bar review courses.  Thus, Supreme has been blocked in law schools in Ohio from posting advertising about its course because SBA executives, so co-opted by BAR/BRI, have refused to permit such flyers to be so posted.  As there are few, if any, other places to promote bar review courses than in a law school (where all the potential and actual consumers reside), the restriction on such advertising is a substantial restraint on competition imposed on Supreme by BAR/BRI in Ohio.
46.   DeVry.    Like Becker and Kaplan, DeVry is a provider of a variety of courses for post secondary examinations and a most likely potential entrant into the bar review course market.  Among the most significant of its offerings is the preparatory course for the CPA exam.  Until July 1999, BAR/BRI offered a CPA prep course along with its bar review course.  In that year, BAR/BRI sold its so-called Conviser Duffy CPA Course to DeVry.  Like Kaplan and Becker before it, DeVry, too, is a most likely entrant into the bar review course business.  Plaintiffs are informed and believe that incident to BAR/BRI's sale to DeVry of said CPA course, each party has agreed not to compete in the market of the other, i.e., Bar/Bri, not to initiate another CPA prep course and DeVry comparably not to initiate a bar review course. This market division also violates section 1 of
the Sherman Act (15 U.S.C. § 1).


4
General Board / BAR REVIEW COMPLAINT PART 2
« on: August 28, 2007, 09:32:56 PM »
For more information email me at smrt4ucr2002@yahoo.com


18.   Because of the practice of Bar/Bri signing up most law students for the bar exam during their first year, it is important that a bar review course provider offer courses for multiple States, as many such students are frequently unsure of the particular State in which they will ultimately sit for an exam, then practice law.  BAR/BRI is now the only bar review course in the U.S. that offers full-service bar review courses in every State, and, therefore, has an insurmountable advantage tying up most law students in their first year of law school, so that those students are uninterested in shopping for another bar review course thereafter, i.e., they are no longer consumers in the market.
19.   As the examination process is both grueling and obviously important, persons desiring to take a bar examination in a given state for the first time, will, with rare exception, take a full-service bar review course, designed to prepare them for the challenge that lies ahead.  Even persons who have previously failed one or more bar exams frequently attend full-service bar review courses as often as they sit for an exam.  The full-service bar review course proves then to be the principal means to specifically prepare for such a bar examination.  There is little, if any, cross-elasticity of demand between full-service bar courses, on the one hand, versus supplementary specialty courses and generalized texts dealing with the substantive topics which happen to be covered on the bar examination, on the other.
20.   At all relevant times, BAR/BRI’s share of the national submarket for the provision of full-service bar review courses has been in excess of 90 percent.  It recently boasted on its website:  “BAR/BRI Review is the largest bar review company in the United States, preparing more than 95 percent of all students sitting for the bar exam in any given year.”  In many States, its share of the submarket approaches 100 percent.  As a practical matter, in all but a handful of States, Plaintiffs will literally be trapped into taking the BAR/BRI course.  Whatever the quality of BAR/BRI's course may be, it is too often the only choice. 
21.   Regarding entry barriers, they are virtually insuperable in this market.  In part, there are structural limitations to entry, mainly that to succeed, entry must occur in most States in a short period, which is a very costly proposition.  But the principal entry barrier here is BAR/BRI's own wrongful actions which serve to drive up that cost enormously.  Thus, the entry barriers here are largely "endogenous."   Such barriers can be readily lowered, then, only by eviscerating BAR/BRI's monopoly and the practices that helped create it.  At such time as that power is dissipated and those practices enjoined, it will become far easier for potential other competitors to enter the market and succeed. 
22.   Successful entry has been made even more difficult since the combination of BAR/BRI and West.  West provides its powerful data and legal research retrieval service, Westlaw, free of charge to law students who, of course, typically employ it on a virtually constant basis.  At pertinent times herein, Westlaw's user screens have contained regular pop-up and other advertising to promote BAR/BRI.  A substantial number of law students are, in fact, required to view the Westlaw website and its advertising because their professors post homework and related assignments on "The West Education Network," access to which is available by traversing said Westlaw website.  No other competitor has comparable, if any, access to such a powerful promotional vehicle.
23.   There has been no successful entry against BAR/BRI since 1995.  (Regarding events in that year, see West Bar Review discussion below.)
24.   Due to BAR/BRI’s clear monopoly in preparing (or failing to prepare) students to take the bar examination, BAR/BRI has been able to unilaterally control pricing in this market. Specifically, it has raised prices for its course approximately $100 per year in every State, across, the board for several years now.  Where "discounting" takes place, that principally seems to be in the area of providing students discounts for early signups, scholarships and the like.  Such discounts are unrelated to competitive factors, except for two instances which are detailed below. 
25.   BAR/BRI is now the entrenched monopolist in the full-service bar review market, with no significant likelihood of its offering reasonable, competitive prices or of the entry of meaningful new competition, without the assistance of this Court. 
SUMMARY OF BAR/BRI'S HISTORY OF
ANTICOMPETITIVE ACTIONS
26.   Illinois/Michigan Market Division.    Early in BAR/BRI's existence, back in the late 1970s, it encountered a significant competitor, BRC.  With BAR/BRI, headquartered in Illinois, and BRC, headquartered in Michigan, in order to eliminate competition between them at the time, they secretly conspired then not to compete against each other in their home states.  As a consequence, BRC stayed out of Illinois and BAR/BRI stayed out of Michigan for more than a decade thereafter, thus permitting each company to monopolize their respective States  The conspiracy ended only when BRC was sold to new owners.  This market division conspiracy violated Section 1 of the Sherman Act (15 U.S.C. § 1). 
27.   Becker.    In the mid 1990s, Becker was the largest provider of CPA courses in the U.S.  At that time, it was a most likely entrant into the bar review course business because of its pertinent infrastructure and related course.  (BAR/BRI itself generated a CPA prep course at the time.)  Reed was a BAR/BRI executive who left BAR/BRI.  Shortly thereafter he entered into an agreement with Becker to commence a national bar review course to compete against BAR/BRI.  Over a few day period in the early 1990s, Reed received mysterious phone calls over several nights.  At exactly the same time, Becker inexplicably backed out of the deal.  This all coincided with a suit BAR/BRI had brought against Reed for purported violations of his employment agreement with BAR/BRI during his tenure with them.  Subsequently, Becker never entered the bar review business.  On information and belief, BAR/BRI interfered with and prevented Becker's entry into the market.
28.   PMBR.    PMBR has provided only a multi-state bar review course for many years, i.e., a course covering only the so-called “multi-state exam” or MBE.  BAR/BRI also marketed a separate MBE course to compete against the PMBR course for many years.  In the early 1990s, however, PMBR entered into the full-service bar review course business in California, as well as in several southeastern States.  It then commenced to engage in very aggressive competition against BAR/BRI.  Among other things, PMBR sued BAR/BRI in Colorado, essentially for BAR/BRI changing its class times, such that they interfered with PMBR's supplemental course class times.  PBMR claimed $100,000 in damages.  However, BAR/BRI then settled the matter in an amount believed to be far more than what was ever sought by PMBR. 
29.   Thereafter, PMBR never offered a full-service course and BAR/BRI never offered a for-pay supplemental bar course.  In fact, PMBR's reps were trained to praise BAR/BRI's course in the process of offering PMBR's supplement.  To this day, PMBR and BAR/BRI have agreed not to speak of each other in any critical or comparative way and to freely refer students from one program to the other.  This market division conspiracy also violates Section 1 of the Sherman Act (15 U.S.C. § 1). 
30.   Marino.    For many years Marino was a small competitor in New York State (Its principal claim to fame there was getting John F. Kennedy, Jr. through the New York bar exam after he failed the test two prior times.)  By the 1990s, Marino had expanded into Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  Shortly after he initiated this outward push from New York, BAR/BRI gave Marino's principal a lucrative consulting contract, then shut down its competing course in the several States in which it then operated.  The elevated importance of Marino to BAR/BRI after it entered other States is consistent with BAR/BRI's perpetual goal to keep competition out of the "national" market.  This restraint of trade violated Section 1 of the Sherman Act (15 U.S.C. § 1).
31.   Pieper.    Pieper is one of the few remaining local competitors in the U.S. in this business.  Although it only operates in New York, Pieper has successfully competed against BAR/BRI there for decades.  Why has Pieper alone not come under the wrath of BAR/BRI?  One reason is that Pieper, like Marino, had expanded into at least one other State in the distant past.  At that time in fairly short order, it withdrew from said State and restricted itself to New York, on information and belief, in response to BAR/BRI's threats.  With respect to its pricing, curiously Pieper has no particular incentive to take business away from BAR/BRI, as its prices in New York are virtually identical to BAR/BRI's own substantial prices.  Thus, BAR/BRI still controls more than 75 percent of the entire New York market. Whatever steps BAR/BRI took to restrict Pieper to New York violated Section 1 of the Sherman Act (15 U.S.C. § 1).
32.   West Bar Review.    In 1995, West Publishing formed West Bar Review (“West Bar”) for the purpose of competing in the market for the provision of full-service bar review courses to candidates for admission to the bar of several states.  It then commenced operations throughout the United States, in part by acquiring a number of pertinent regional competitors in the bar review market at the time, including BarPassers, principally operating in California at the time.  West Bar competed vigorously against long-time dominant competitor, BAR/BRI, owned by Harcourt.

5
General Board / THE BAR REVIEW COMPLAINT PART 1
« on: August 28, 2007, 09:31:57 PM »
For more information email me at smrt4ucr2002@yahoo.com . I am looking for another co-plaintiff

Eliot G. Disner (SBN CA 068832)
A Professional Corporation
DISNER LAW CORPORATION
2029 Century Park East. 19th Floor
Los Angeles, California 90067
Telephone: (310) 286-0600
Facsimile: (310) 282-2585
edisner@disnerlaw.com

Alan Harris (SBN CA 146079)
HARRIS & RUBLE
5455 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1800
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Telephone: (323) 931-3777
Facsimile: (323) 931-3366
law@harrisandruble.com

Attorneys for Plaintiffs


UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

BRIAN SCHALL AND ANAND L. DANIELL, Individuals,

Plaintiffs,

vs.

WEST PUBLISHING CORPORATION, a Minnesota Corporation dba BAR/BRI,

Defendants.
      CASE NO.  CV 05-3222 R(MCx)

COMPLAINT FOR VIOLATION OF THE U.S. ANTITRUST LAWS (15 U.S.C. § 2, ET SEQ.)
JURY TRIAL DEMANDED





   Plaintiffs Brian Schall and Anand L. Daniell bring this action for injunctive relief under the antitrust laws of the United States.
INTRODUCTION
1.   Plaintiffs file this complaint for one singular purpose: to break up the the illegally obtained and maintained monopoly of BAR/BRI (an assumed name of Defendant "West Publishing Corporation") in the market for the provision of bar review preparation courses for the nation's various bar exams and to otherwise restore viable and enduring competition in that market.  BAR/BRI has monopolized the bar review course market through means other than skill, industry, foresight or historical accident.  In fact, it has committed a catalogue of antitrust violations over the years in order to maintain its monopoly, including market division, unlawful acquisition, and conspiracy to restrain trade. As will be detailed further herein, the practices of BAR/BRI are longstanding and so pervasive that this lawsuit presently seeks only the remedy of eviscerating BAR/BRI's unlawful market power to permit the sun to shine in this dark corner of the world, then to allow competition there to blossom.
2.   Plaintiffs are incoming law students who will become consumers in that marketplace when they graduate from law school in some two years and nine months.  This Court then is asked to expeditiously and actively enforce the antitrust laws here, in order to permit such a competitive marketplace to develop to the extent reasonably possible.   
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
3.   This Complaint is filed and these proceedings are instituted under Section 16 of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. § 26, to obtain injunctive relief and the costs of suit, including reasonable attorneys’ fees, against Defendants to remedy violations of Section 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2, as alleged in great detail hereinbelow.
4.   Jurisdiction is conferred upon this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1337, and by Section 16 of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. § 26.
5.   Defendant transacts business, maintain offices, or is found within this Judicial District.  The interstate commerce described hereinafter is also carried on, in part, within this Judicial District.  Venue is proper in this District pursuant to the provisions of 15 U.S.C. § 22 and 28 U.S.C. § 1391.

PLAINTIFFS
   6.   Brian Schall (“Schall”) is an individual who resides in Los Angeles, California.  Schall is enrolled as an incoming first-year law student at University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, California.  Schall seeks, to the extent possible, a competitive marketplace for bar review preparation courses, in which market he intends to become a consumer, in preparation for the bar exam he will be taking in one state or another in or about July, 2010.  At this time, Schall has not decided in which state he intends to practice law, and, therefore, seeks the creation of competitive conditions throughout the market. 
7.   Anand L. Daniell (“Daniell”) is an individual who resides in Irvine, California.  Daniell is enrolled as an incoming first-year law student at Stanford Law School in Stanford, California.  Daniell seeks, to the extent possible, a competitive marketplace for bar review preparation courses, in which market he intends to become a consumer, in preparation for the bar exam he will be taking in one state or another in or about July, 2010.  At this time, Daniell has not decided in which state he intends to practice law, and, therefore, seeks the creation of competitive conditions throughout the market.   
DEFENDANT
8.   Defendant West Publishing Corporation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Thomson Company (“Thomson”) and also known as “West Group” (here, “West”).  West is a Minnesota corporation headquartered in Eagan, Minnesota.  Thomson is a Canadian corporation with its principal place of business in Toronto, Ontario, and substantial offices in the U.S.  Thomson calls itself the “World’s Leading Information Resource.” 
9.   In or about 2001, Thomson’s competitor, Reed Elsevier, Inc., dba Lexis/Nexis purchased BAR/BRI, among other lines of business, from Harcourt General Inc., which owned BAR/BRI at the time.  After Reed Elsevier purchased BAR/BRI, it promptly sold it to its competitor Thomson, which now operates BAR/BRI through West.  At that time, Thomson also acquired MicroMash Bar Review (“MicroMash”), a full-service home study bar review course.
10.   At all pertinent times, BAR/BRI has been the only full-service bar review course operating throughout the United States that offers courses for virtually all jurisdictions herein.  In the past, it has also operated LSAT and other test preparation courses, including a CPA test preparation course.
TRADE AND COMMERCE
11.   At all pertinent times, BAR/BRI has regularly sold and shipped bar review courses, course volumes, books, audio tapes and other materials, inter alia, across state lines.  It has also continuously engaged in soliciting students to take courses outside their resident states.  Therefore, BAR/BRI’s activities, including the anticompetitive activities described herein, are in and substantially affect interstate commerce.
RELEVANT MARKETS
12.   The provision of bar review courses to individuals preparing to take a bar examination is a relevant product market for purposes of enforcement of the antitrust laws.  In addition, the provision of so-called full-service bar review courses to such individuals, which in dollar volume accounts for the vast preponderance of all sales in the overall market, is in and of itself a relevant product market (or submarket) for purposes of enforcement of the antitrust laws.     
13.   A relevant geographic market for purposes of enforcement of the antitrust laws here is the United States.  Other relevant geographic markets for antitrust law enforcement purposes may include each jurisdiction in the U.S., i.e., state or the District of Columbia, in which full-service bar review courses are provided ("States"), and the venues of every law school,  in which a measurable percentage of students attend who emanate from, or migrate to, other states. 
PERTINENT FACTS
14.   The relevant business engaged in by BAR/BRI consists of training law school graduates for the bar examination each needs to pass before receiving a license to practice law in the States, or any of them. The bar examination in most States in the United States consists of, at least, two parts.  One part is the Multistate Bar Examination (“MBE”).  The MBE is prepared by the National Conference of Bar Examiners.  It is required by nearly all States.  The second part of the bar examination consists of a test prepared under the control of each State’s Board of Bar Examiners or similarly-titled state license-issuing body, which may incorporate the Multistate Essay Examination and/or the Multistate Performance Test.  This part is designed to test local law and/or general legal concepts and the application thereof typically in essay format.  The materials and courses are substantially similar from State to State. 
15.   BAR/BRI provides a full-service bar review course, typically about seven weeks in duration, in which substantive law is reviewed, test-taking techniques are taught, and pertinent skills honed for the grueling multi-day exam that awaits each exam-taker.  Bar review courses are the principal means employed by law school graduates to prepare for the bar examination.  BAR/BRI provides to students, among other things, a set of written review materials, lectures on the subjects and points of substantive law that are tested in that State and review questions that are similar to those asked previously, or have actually been asked previously, by the bar examiners therein.
16.   MicroMash offers courses in about 21 states, plus the District of Columbia.  It, too, has prepared thousands of law students to pass a state bar examination.
17.   Despite, or more likely because, these intensive preparation courses are predominately provided by BAR/BRI, the nation's bar exam passage rate has been steadily sinking.  This trend has been occurring over the past several years, as LSAT scores for incoming law students have been rising and competition stiffening among students just to get in to law school (MBAs are less attractive then they were 10 years ago.)  There can be little doubt that BAR/BRI has contributed to this decline by behaving like many monopolists that earn substantial profits with or without a quality product which, therefore, has chosen to deliver an inferior product in recent years.  Thus, BAR/BRI: (1) teaches with bulky, aged and often inapt materials, (2) increasingly offers videotaped over live lectures, and (3) invests more funds in killing what little competition remains, rather than improving its product offering.


6
Socratic Method / Re: HELP BREAK THE BAR REVIEW MONOPOLY
« on: August 25, 2007, 02:39:35 PM »
Yes, Westlaw has been beahving badly. I have the complaint in pdf format but don't know how to post it here. Would anyone happen to know if it is possible?

7
Socratic Method / HELP BREAK THE BAR REVIEW MONOPOLY
« on: August 25, 2007, 01:01:53 AM »
I am looking for co-plaintiffs from across the United States to join me in an effort to end Westlaw Publishing's monopoly of the bar review market. In stark contrast to the myriad LSAT review courses which are offered in virtually every U.S. city (i.e. Kaplan, Princeton Review, Testmasters and others) there is only one bar review company widely available for this exam of immeasurable importance. Consequently, 3L law students who are nearing the end of the grueling and expensive law school process find themselves paying exorbitant rates to BAR/BRI, currently the only viable bar review company, in order that they may obtain the necessary knowledge and skills to finally earn the right to practice law. Inasmuch as it would be wrong for prospective law school students to be forced to take one of the aforementioned LSAT prep courses due to the lack of an alternative, the same principle should apply to the bar review. A complaint has been filed against Westlaw (owner of the BAR/BRI bar review courses) and I would invite serious first year law students to take a principled stance against this monopoly by joining me in this lawsuit. For more information follow this link to a Law.com article about the lawsuit. http://www.law.com/jsp/LawArticlePC.jsp?id=1186736524498

Also, if you have access to the Los Angeles Daily Journal, the complaint was featured on the cover of the August 10th edition.
For a copy of the complaint, email me at smrt4ucr2002@yahoo.com


8
General Board / STOP PAYING TOO MUCH FOR YOUR BAR REVIEW!
« on: August 25, 2007, 12:59:19 AM »
I am looking for co-plaintiffs from across the United States to join me in an effort to end Westlaw Publishing's monopoly of the bar review market. In stark contrast to the myriad LSAT review courses which are offered in virtually every U.S. city (i.e. Kaplan, Princeton Review, Testmasters and others) there is only one bar review company widely available for this exam of immeasurable importance. Consequently, 3L law students who are nearing the end of the grueling and expensive law school process find themselves paying exorbitant rates to BAR/BRI, currently the only viable bar review company, in order that they may obtain the necessary knowledge and skills to finally earn the right to practice law. Inasmuch as it would be wrong for prospective law school students to be forced to take one of the aforementioned LSAT prep courses due to the lack of an alternative, the same principle should apply to the bar review. A complaint has been filed against Westlaw (owner of the BAR/BRI bar review courses) and I would invite serious first year law students to take a principled stance against this monopoly by joining me in this lawsuit. For more information follow this link to a Law.com article about the lawsuit. http://www.law.com/jsp/LawArticlePC.jsp?id=1186736524498

Also, if you have access to the Los Angeles Daily Journal, the complaint was featured on the cover of the August 10th edition.
For a copy of the complaint, email me at smrt4ucr2002@yahoo.com



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