Kaplan and Bar/Bri Alleged to Illegally Divide Market–Rodriguez v. West Publishing Corporation

Rodriguez v. West Publishing Corporation, CV05-3222 (C.D. Cal. complaint filed April 28, 2005). Explosive class-action antitrust lawsuit brought by Van Etten Suzumoto & Beckett against Kaplan and Bar/Bri alleging an illegal market-division agreement where West agreed to stay out of the LSAT preparation market and Kaplan agreed to stay out of the bar exam preparation market. Press release here.

I’m a little surprised that this lawsuit hasn’t been brought earlier; Bar/Bri has had nearly 100% market share for years. On that front, I know very little about antitrust law, but I wonder about the applicable statute of limitations—the purported agreement took place in 1997, or nearly 8 years ago.

My experience was Bar/Bri was a good one (i.e., they did a good job preparing me for the bar exam), but the complete absence of meaningful competition in the bar exam preparation business has puzzled me for a long time. If the plaintiffs can prove the facts they allege in their complaint, then we’ll have an answer.