All persons or entities that purchased dental supplies and equipment from Henry Schein, Patterson, Benco, **Burkhart or any combination thereof, during the period beginning August 31, 2008 through and including March 31st 2016 (the “Class Period”). Excluded from the Class are Defendants, their subsidiaries, affiliate entities, and employees, and all federal or state government entities or agencies.
For purposes of this litigation, the term “Dental Supplies” includes all dental supplies and dental equipment, from consumables like gauze and cement to big-ticket equipment like chairs and x rays.
The lawsuit alleges that these suppliers violated United States antitrust laws by engaging in and/or threatening group boycotts to block the ability of lower cost rivals to compete in the dental market. This misconduct permitted these companies to maintain their collective market power and to overcharge their customers for Dental Supplies. As a result, dentists and dental practices have paid more for dental supplies than they otherwise would have paid. In April 2015, the Texas Attorney General alleged that Benco Dental Supply Company engaged in an unlawful boycott in response to a new online dental sales venture. Benco threatened to boycott various dental supplies manufacterers if they supported the new venture. As a result of the complaint, Benco agreed to pay $300,000 in legal fees and costs and agreed to substantial relief. A similar complaint was filed in 2012 against Henry Schein, Inc. In the complaint, Schein is alleged to have pressured the American Dental Cooperative to revoke the membership of a sales agent and pressured various manufacturers to stop supplying the sales agent with products unless the sales agent agreed to fix their prices. The Arizona Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission are also actively investigating the anticompetitive group boycotts from Patterson, Schein and Benco.
Burkhart Dental Supply Company (“Burkhart”) was at one time named as a defendant in this lawsuit, but the case was subsequently dismissed against Burkhart on personal jurisdiction grounds. Because Burkhart is no longer a defendant in this action, it is not paying any portion of the Settlement funds or otherwise participating in the Settlement. This does not, however, affect the ability of any class members who were Burkhart customers to participate in the Settlement.