The stakes were huge even for Johnson & Johnson, the world’s largest manufacturer of health care products.

In 2003, Applied Medical Resources Corp., which manufactures medical instruments, filed suit in the Central District of California alleging that J&J’s Ethicon Inc. subsidiary had used its position as a market leader in sutures to monopolize the market for trocars, which are devices used in minimally invasive surgery. AMR claimed $54 million in damages, arguing that J&J had violated antitrust law by offering the steepest discounts to hospitals that committed to purchase both sutures and trocars. Applied Medical Resources Corp. v. Ethicon Inc., No. SACV 03-1329 (C.D. Calif. 2006). Plaintiffs counsel Steve Susman had won a $140 million verdict in a similar case in the same court just a year earlier.

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