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December 16, 2010

COURT APPROVES $850,000 DISTRIBUTION IN U.S. ANTITRUST LAW CLASS ACTION

The New York Bar Foundation to administer grants to programs fostering innovation in the technology sector and entrepreneurship among disabled military veterans

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York Chief Judge Loretta A. Preska has signed an order approving a plan submitted by class counsel and The New York Bar Foundation for a cy pres distribution of residual class action settlement funds of approximately $850,000 in City of Detroit v. Grinnell Corp. (68-cv-4026, 4027, 4028 LAP). The funds are being distributed to The New York Bar Foundation under the cy pres doctrine, which will provide funding through its grantmaking program for projects conducted by the University of Pennsylvania Law School's Center for Technology, Innovation and Competition (CTIC) and Syracuse University's Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV).

Lesley F. Rosenthal (Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts), Foundation Board director and chair of its Cy Pres and Restricted Gifts Committee, and Class Counsel Howard L. Shecter (Reed Smith LLP) and Daniel Berger (Berger & Montague PC) jointly presented the proposal for distribution to Chief Judge Preska.

Foundation President M. Catherine Richardson (Bond Schoeneck & King PLLC, Syracuse) said, "The New York Bar Foundation is very pleased to receive the cy pres fund distribution from this important antitrust law class action. The programs to be awarded grants already have a reputation for excellence and involve accomplished faculty and scholars. We are proud to have our Foundation collaborating with Syracuse University to benefit our disabled military veterans and their families and Penn Law to provide financial support for its research into technology and innovation policy."

CTIC at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, founded in 2007, advances legal and policy research into emerging issues of technology and innovation. It is committed to presenting balanced programs that include a full range of scholarly viewpoints from various disciplines including internet technology, economics, antitrust and intellectual property law, and medicine. CTIC conducts conferences, workshops and symposia, focusing its energies on exploring the type of issues that initially arose in the Grinnell litigation. Over the three-year life of the new grants, CTIC will hold additional conferences and host additional visiting scholars and research fellows, as well as conducting classes and summer research, taking its exploration of these issues to another level.

Also founded in 2007, the EBV program is designed to leverage the skills, resources and infrastructure of higher education to offer cutting edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 U.S. military veterans with disabilities resulting from their military service. Based on the success of the program, conducted at Syracuse University's Whitman School of Management, a consortium was formed in 2008 as a national educational initiative, and the EBV program is now offered at five additional university campuses. The new grants, to be funded over three years, will enable 35 additional veterans to attend the program free of charge.  The grant monies also will be expended to further develop curriculum to include a business ethics module and to develop additional tools to measure EBV program outcomes.

The Grinnell litigation involved several national class actions consolidated in the Southern District of New York that alleged defendant companies violated the Sherman Act for purported price fixing among four service providers in the market for central station alarm services. The defendant companies utilized telephone voice technology to monitor burglar, fire and residential alarm systems from a remote central location. The cases were settled for $10 million in 1971. The protective services industry, through its rudimentary use of telephone technology, became a precursor of the information services business, which includes information technology such as the Internet.

The funds will be used to further the goal of increasing public understanding of the U.S. antitrust laws and the jurisprudence and significance of the Grinnell case in U.S. antitrust jurisprudence, particularly as applied to the information services industry, which the protective services industry involved in Grinnell helped spawn. The projects also foster the types of entrepreneurship promoted by U.S. antitrust laws and are conducted to benefit important groups of worthy individuals. A cy pres fund includes funds from a class action case that cannot be distributed to the class members for a number of reasons.

Founded in 1950, The New York Bar Foundation provides financial support, through its grantmaking program, for law-related charitable and educational programs that increase public understanding of the law; improve the justice system and the law; facilitate the delivery of legal services; and enhance professional competence and ethics. For more information about The New York Bar Foundation, go to www.tnybf.org, phone 518-487-5651 or email foundation@tnybf.org.

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Founded in 1876, the 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the official statewide organization of lawyers in New York and the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. The State Bar's programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years. For more information, visit us at our Web site at www.nysba.org.