Not a Defendant But A Co-Conspirator
What does it mean if you are a co-conspirator in an antitrust lawsuit?
Warning: You are going to want to set some time aside for this post. It might help to pour a stiff drink as well. Or if you live in free states, roll up a joint. Because if I’m right about even half of this, it’s really not good news.
This post will also necessarily be heavy on legal jargon and legal concepts. I’ll try to keep it simple and interesting but there’s only so much you can do.
Because the scale of damages is so insane, quite a lot of people think some sort of a global settlement is inevitable. I agree, but will address that in a future post, since this one will get long and heavy.
I have long maintained that while I am a lawyer (retired from NY Bar), and do enjoy reading legal cases and such because of my wayward youth, I am not an antitrust lawyer. I didn’t study it in law school, and frankly, antitrust is such a specialized field that even if I had, I know that I don’t know much at all.
After a recent conversation with a friend of mine who isn’t in real estate but has done antitrust litigation, I realized that I had been missing an all-important aspect of these commission lawsuits… and the DOJ’s likely involvement in all of them behind the scenes.
I still don’t know that I’m getting all of the important details right, but let me try to explain things to you and by that attempt, learn it better for myself.
Allow me to introduce you to the concept of joint and several liability, and how that interacts with being named or identified as a co-conspirator in an antitrust case even if you are not one of the defendants.
As I always say, I am a lawyer but I am not your lawyer; and as I have made clear, I don’t know enough about antitrust. So please consult your own competent counsel for actual legal advice. This is purely a thought exercise I’m working through.
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