Steven F. Benz focuses his practice on antitrust, unfair competition, class action and complex commercial cases in federal and state courts throughout the country. He has more than twenty-five years of litigation experience throughout the United States and has served as counsel of record in more than 130 litigated cases, trials, and appeals.
As a partner at the firm, Mr. Benz has prosecuted leading edge cases involving in part the intersection of competition law and intellectual property rights, including monopolization, price fixing, and class actions under federal and state law; direct and indirect purchaser claims under state antitrust and unfair competition laws; breach of contract, fraudulent transfer and deceptive trade practices litigation.
Mr. Benz is co-lead counsel and represents the Dial Corporation, Henkel Consumer Goods, Inc., Kraft Heinz Foods Company, H.J. Heinz Company, L.P., Foster Poultry Farms, Smithfield Foods, Inc., HP Hood, LLC, and BEF Foods, Inc. in The Dial Corporation, et al. v. News Corporation, et al., Civ. Action No. 13-CV-06802 (WHP) (S.D.N.Y) (Judge Pauley), a Sherman Act monopolization case involving third-party in-store promotions. In 2016, on the first day of trial, Mr. Benz secured a settlement of $250 million and significant injunctive relief for his clients and the certified class of 699 CPG (consumer product goods) companies.
Mr. Benz also currently represents:
- the trustee for Ritz Camera & Image, LLC, CPM Electronics Inc., and E.S.E Electronics, Inc. and the certified direct purchaser class in Alfred T. Guliano, et al. v. SanDisk Corporation, Case No. CV 10-02787-SBA (N.D. Cal.) (Judge Armstrong), in a Walker Process (fraud on the Patent and Trademark Office) Sherman Act monopolization case;
- a corporate client and the direct purchaser class in MDL No. 2420, In Re: Lithium Ion Batteries Antitrust Litigation, Case No. 4:13-md-02420-YGR (N.D. Cal.) (Judge Rogers); and
- a corporate client and the certified direct purchaser class in MDL No. 1917, In Re: Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) Antitrust Litigation, Case No. 3:07-cv-05944-JST (N.D. Cal.) (Judge Tigar).
- District of Columbia
- Supreme Court of the United States
- United States District Court for the District of Columbia
- United States District Court for the District of Maryland
- United States Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
- United States Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals
- Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
In 2012, Mr. Benz achieved a significant ruling from the Federal Circuit in Ritz Camera & Image, LLC v. SanDisk Corporation, 700 F.3d 503 (Fed. Cir. 2012). The Federal Circuit held that direct purchasers have standing to pursue Walker Process (fraud on the Patent and Trademark Office) antitrust claims. Supporting amicus briefs were submitted by the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, more than thirty state Attorneys General, and more than thirty law professors.
Mr. Benz and his partners were retained by AT&T Inc. to serve as lead trial counsel in the Department of Justice lawsuit to enjoin the merger of AT&T Inc. and T-Mobile USA, Inc., United States of America v. AT&T Inc., T-Mobile USA, Inc., and Deutsche Telekom AG, Civil No. 11-01560 (ESH) (D.D.C.).
Mr. Benz was one of the lead attorneys in Conwood Co. v. United States Tobacco Co., 290 F.3d 768 (6th Cir. 2002), in which the firm won the largest Sherman Act § 2 damages award in history for our client. A jury awarded a judgment (after trebling) of $1.05 billion. This verdict was affirmed by the Sixth Circuit in 2002. Id.
Mr. Benz was one of the lead attorneys for the plaintiffs in Coordination Proceedings Special Title (Rule 1550(b)) Microsoft I – V Cases, J.C.C.P. No. 4106 (Cal. Super. Ct., San Fran.). He investigated, drafted and filed the complaint in Lingo et al. v. Microsoft Corp., No. 301357 (Cal. Super. Ct., San Fran.), which became the lead case against Microsoft in California after consolidation, on February 18, 1999. On January 10, 2003, plaintiffs’ counsel and the class representatives reached an agreement with Microsoft on a settlement, which provided $1.1 billion in monetary benefits to California consumers and municipalities. This settlement is the largest recovery of a monopoly overcharge ever achieved in the United States and the largest recovery ever achieved under California’s Cartwright Act or California’s Unfair Competition Act.
Below-Cost Sales and the Buying of Market Share, 42 Stanford Law Review 695 (1990)
Soviet Nationalities Policies and the Soviet Germans, 16 Heritage Review 11 (1986)
Trade Liberalization and the Global Service Economy, 19 Journal of World Trade Law 95 (1985)
High Technology Occupations Lead Growth in Services Employment, 7 Business America 19 (1984)
Co-author: The Trigger of Coverage Under CGL Policies, Insurance Coverage Litigation 1993: Critical Issues and Strategies, New York: Practicing Law Institute (1993)
Co-author: International Competition in Information Technologies: Foreign Government Intervention and the U.S. Response, 22 Stanford Journal of International Law 215 (1987)
Co-author: The Semiconductor Chip Protection Act: Experience in the Utilization of the Law and Current International Developments, 8 European Intellectual Property Review 229 (1986)
Co-author: U.S.-Japan Relations: Convergence and Cooperation in a Changing World Economy, Southwestern Legal Foundation (1986)
Private Investors Abroad: Problems and Solutions in International Business in 1986, Matthew Bender (1986)
Co-author: Government Procurement of Semiconductors: Economic and Environmental Issues Affecting a Major Strategic Resource, San Jose, Semiconductor Industry Association (1985)
Stanford Law School, J.D., 1990
- President, Stanford Law Review, 1989-1990
Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, M.A.L.D., 1985
Johns Hopkins University, B.A., general honors, departmental honors, 1983
- Phi Beta Kappa
AV® Peer Review Rated
Major, Deputy Staff Judge Advocate, 113th Fighter Wing, DC Air National Guard and US Air Force Reserve, Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, 1991-1998