Mergers & Antitrust Law News

Harvard Law, Barbri, Others Defeat Bribery, Conspiracy Claims

April 25, 2019, 3:18 PM

Bar exam review company Barbri Inc. and law schools didn’t engage in an unlawful conspiracy to force competitor LLM Bar Exam LLC out of business, the Second Circuit affirmed.

The court’s three-judge panel adopted “in all respects” a district court’s September 2017 dismissal ruling.

LLM Bar Exam failed to sufficiently allege defendants entered into a conspiracy, that they sought to unreasonably restrain trade, or that Barbri has the power to monopolize, the district court said.

The complaint doesn’t state a plausible claim to relief, the Second Circuit panel said.

LLM Bar Exam alleged that Barbri and various law schools, including Harvard, NYU, Columbia, and Duke, entered into agreements whereby Barbri bribed school administrators in exchange for the ability to promote and sell products on campus.

These agreements violated the Sherman Act and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, LLM Bar Exam contended.

LLM Bar Exam said the alleged conduct allowed Barbri to retain the entire market for LLM (Master of Law) students for itself, but exhibits in its complaint indicated that at least two other companies were able to provide bar review courses to those students, the panel said.

Judges Barrington D. Parker, Peter W. Hall, and Christopher F. Droney joined in the decision.

Law Office of Judd R. Spray represented LLM Bar Exam LLC. Goodwin Procter LLP represented Barbri. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Boies Schiller Flexner LLP represented the law schools.

The case is LLM Bar Exam LLC v. Barbri Inc., 2d Cir., No. 17-3463-cv, 4/25/19.

To contact the reporter on this story: Daniel Seiden in Washington at dseiden@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at jmeyer@bloomberglaw.com; C. Reilly Larson at rlarson@bloomberglaw.com

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