Continued focus on antitrust enforcement has led the New Jersey and California attorneys general (AG) offices to go on a hiring spree. New Jersey AG Matthew Platkin recently announced the establishment of a permanent, stand-alone Antitrust Litigation and Competition Enforcement Section to enforce the New Jersey Antitrust Act. Meanwhile, the California AG’s office intends to hire eight new antitrust attorneys in June 2024, with more expected throughout the year. The announcement out of the California AG’s office aligns with the state’s aggressive antitrust enforcement practices, and comes just two months after the California Department of Justice announced its plan to invigorate criminal antitrust prosecutions.

Platkin recently said in a press release, “There is a pressing need in New Jersey for dedicated resources and specialized expertise for antitrust issues, which are becoming increasingly complex.” He went on to say that the state has an “obligation to protect consumers and workers from the problems that result from unchecked monopolies and oligopolies. With this move, we are acting to safeguard the interests of our residents and foster a fair and competitive marketplace for all.”

The increased focus on antitrust enforcement comes on the heels of a 2022 amendment to the New Jersey Antitrust Act to permit claims by indirect purchasers harmed by anticompetitive conduct. The amendment allows the AG’s office to pursue alleged bad actors and obtain restitution at all levels of the supply chain in order to promote a level playing field for all market participants. New Jersey is already considered one of the more aggressive AG offices in the antitrust space and the recent amendment to the state’s statute will almost certainly lead to an increase in antitrust enforcement. In recent years, the New Jersey AG’s office has been involved in significant antitrust actions alleged against major technology companies and those in the airline, retail, labor, health care, and pharmaceutical industries.

Why It Matters

While California and New Jersey have traditionally been at the forefront of state antitrust enforcement, we expect other state AGs to follow suit with additional hires. This will likely lead to an uptick in investigations and antitrust litigation both by individual AG offices, and in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice or the Federal Trade Commission.

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Photo of Ashley L. Taylor, Jr. Ashley L. Taylor, Jr.

Ashley is co-leader of the firm’s nationally ranked State Attorneys General practice, vice chair of the firm, and a partner in its Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement (RISE) Practice Group. He helps his clients navigate the complexities involved with multistate attorneys general investigations…

Ashley is co-leader of the firm’s nationally ranked State Attorneys General practice, vice chair of the firm, and a partner in its Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement (RISE) Practice Group. He helps his clients navigate the complexities involved with multistate attorneys general investigations and enforcement actions, federal agency actions, and accompanying litigation.

Photo of Drew Mann Drew Mann

Drew is a partner in the firm’s Consumer Financial Services practice, based in the Washington, D.C. office. He has significant and highly relevant experience in the health care antitrust space, both from his time at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and in private…

Drew is a partner in the firm’s Consumer Financial Services practice, based in the Washington, D.C. office. He has significant and highly relevant experience in the health care antitrust space, both from his time at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and in private practice.

Photo of Tim Bado Tim Bado

Tim is an associate in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement (RISE) Practice Group, where he represents corporations and individuals facing potential civil and criminal exposure. Tim’s experience in government investigations, enforcement actions, and white-collar litigation spans a number of industries, including…

Tim is an associate in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement (RISE) Practice Group, where he represents corporations and individuals facing potential civil and criminal exposure. Tim’s experience in government investigations, enforcement actions, and white-collar litigation spans a number of industries, including financial services, pharmaceutical, health care, and government contracting, among others.