Stephen Bomse, Senior Counsel in Orrick’s San Francisco office, is a member of the firm’s Antitrust and Competition Group.
He is widely regarded as one of the nation’s leading antitrust lawyers, having tried cases throughout the United States involving multibillion-dollar claims while also maintaining a significant appellate practice, including his successful representation of Weyerhaeuser Company in a major Section 2 case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Steve also represents clients from around the world in other types of complex commercial litigation, both at the trial and appellate level.
In recent years, Steve has focused his practice to a significant extent on cartel cases, including in particular companies, such as Sony, located in various countries in Asia. He has been involved in most of the major recent international cartel cases involving electronic products, such as DRAM, SRAM and LCD representing companies from Japan, Taiwan and China.
While the primary focus of Steve's practice has been, and remains antitrust, he also has had an active trial and appellate practice outside the competition area. In addition to several cases in the U.S. Supreme Court, he has argued appeals in seven separate federal circuits and has tried cases in a number of different federal districts.
The following is a sample of Steve’s notable antitrust cases:
- VISA U.S.A. Steve has tried several cases for VISA U.S.A., which he defended as co-lead counsel in a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division in New York. He also was lead counsel for VISA in the so-called “Credit/Debit Tying Cases,” which at the time were the largest private treble damage actions in U.S. antitrust history.
- Leading Chinese vitamin C manufacturer. Steve recently represented a leading Chinese vitamin C manufacturer, Aland Nutraceutical (previously Jiangshu Jiangshan Pharmaceuticals), in the first antitrust case to be filed against China-based companies.
- Sony Corporation and Sony Electronics. Steve was counsel to various Sony entities in connection with the so-called SRAM cases and related government investigations at the federal and state level. More recently, he has been representing several Sony entities in the LCD price-fixing cases in which the Sony companeis are plaintiffs seeking treble damages.
- GTE Sylvania. Steve and his partner Larry Popofsky were counsel for GTE Sylvania in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case of GTE Sylvania v. Continental T.V., 433 U.S. 36 (1977), which is widely credited with changing the direction of American antitrust law both in the area of vertical restraints and, more generally, by re-orienting U.S. competition policy in favor of its current economic-based approach to the analysis of competition issues.
- Weyerhaeuser Company. Steve successfully served as appellate counsel for Weyerhaeuser in a Ninth Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court proceeding which extended the objective Brooke Group predatory pricing standard to “buy-side” cases.
Among the many other companies for whom Steve has handled significant antitrust matters are: 3M, Coca-Cola, Pacific Gas & Electric, Sara Lee Corporation, Levi Strauss & Co., American Home Foods, UBS AG and Miller Brewing.
Among the many non-antitrust cases handled by Steve are the following:
of Alaska. Steve represented the State of Alaska in a
multibillion-dollar action challenging the validity of the Alaska
statehood compact and its allocation of mineral rights.
- Hoffmann-LaRoche. Steve represented Hoffmann LaRoche in highly publicized trade
secret case involving claim by the University of California that Roche
and Genentech “stole” a “cell line” used to clone the alpha interferon
- DHL Corporation. Steve was appointed by the Saipan
courts to represent the estate of one of the founders of DHL Corporation
in international arbitration involving the estate’s ownership interest
- Seafirst Bank. Steve represented Seafirst in several
lawsuits arising out of its failure as a result of investments
involving the notorious Penn Square Bank, including litigation against
former top management and a successful trial of a $110 million claim
against Seafirst’s D&O insurer.
- DFS Group. Steve
represented DFS, the world’s largest “duty free” retailer (and the
largest retailer in Hawaii) in a lawsuit challenging the
constitutionality of a Honolulu “anti-peddling” ordinance.
Company. Steve represented Pennzoil in various matters related to
its multibillion-dollar investment in Chevron, including litigation
claiming that Pennzoil intended to seek to acquire Chevron through a
- Republic of the Philippines. For nearly two
decades, Steve has represented the Republic of the Philippines as
U.S. counsel and advisor in its efforts to recover Marcos assets
throughout the world. In this role, he has handled numerous appeals
successfully for the government, including most recently a case in the
U.S. Supreme Court applying the indispensable party rule to require
dismissal of claims against nations that choose to invoke their
sovereign immunity in interpleader actions.
Legendary antitrust practitioner Larry Popofsky recently passed away. His longtime colleague and close friend, Steve Bomse, published a personal remembrance and tribute to Larry and his epic and transformative victory in the GTE Sylvania case in Competition Law360. A link to the article appears here.
On September 20, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued an opinion in In re Vitamin C Antitrust Litigation, reversing the district court’s eight year-old decision not to grant a motion to dismiss the case, based on international comity. The Second Circuit vacated the $147 million judgment against the two defendants that took the case to trial in 2013, and remanded with instructions to dismiss the complaint with prejudice. The court did not opine on the defendants’ other grounds for dismissal – the foreign sovereign compulsion, act of state, and political question doctrines. In re Vitamin C Antitrust Litig., No. 13-4791 (2d Cir. Sept. 20, 2016).
In 2005, the plaintiffs brought several class action complaints against the major Chinese vitamin C manufacturers, alleging that the manufacturers illegally fixed the price and output levels of vitamin C that they exported to the United States. The cases, which were consolidated in the Eastern District of New York, marked the first time that Chinese companies had been sued in a U.S. court for violation of the Sherman Act.