August 12, 2020

In a significant strategic victory, a Chicago-based Willkie team convinced the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to centralize numerous putative class actions asserting antitrust claims against Follett Higher Education Group and other college course materials publishers and retailers.

On August 11, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation granted a motion by Follett and other defendants to centralize nine actions pending in multiple federal courts across the country. The actions focus on “Inclusive Access,” an innovative subscription and distribution service for higher education course materials that Follett and other publishers and retailers offer to university and college faculty and administrators. The plaintiffs seek relief on behalf of putative nationwide classes of purchasers or competitor retailers for alleged antitrust harm relating to the defendants’ Inclusive Access offerings. The Panel’s sweeping decision transferred all related actions to a single court over the objections of the plaintiffs.

The Willkie litigation team representing Follett is led by Craig C. Martin, who presented argument before the Panel on behalf Willkie client Follett and the other moving defendants, and includes partner Matt D. Basil, and associates Skyler Silvertrust and Maria Liu.