Spiegel Liao & Kagay has been at the forefront of important developments in administrative law and antitrust and trade regulation law. For example, it established important procedural rights for doctors in hospital credentialing proceedings, ensuring their right to be judged by their peers instead of possibly biased hearing officers. Mileikowsky v. West Hills Hospital and Medical Center, 45 Cal.4th 1259 (2009); Yaqub v. Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System, 122 Cal.App.4th 474 (2004). SLK also established under California's Unfair Competition Law a private right of action analogous to "unfair methods of competition" claims under the Federal Trade Commission Act. Cel-Tech Communications, Inc. v. Los Angeles Cellular Telephone Co., 20 Cal. 4th 183 (1999).
Spiegel Liao & Kagay is probably best known for its work on the Petroleum Products Antitrust Litigation (MDL-150), a significant antitrust action. In MDL-150, a small group of states sued all of the major oil companies for a variety of offenses that affected the retail price of gasoline from the 1950s through the 1970s. SLK attorneys, first as Deputy Attorneys General for the State of California and later as private practitioners, served as lead counsel for the states from start to finish. When the court dismissed the cases in their entirety in 1986, SLK pursued the successful appeal that resulted in the landmark 9th Circuit decision In re Coordinated Pretrial Proceedings in Petroleum Products Antitrust Litigation, 906 F.2d 432 (9th Cir. 1990). Following reversal of the dismissal, SLK continued to lead the cases for the plaintiff states through class certification and ultimately to major settlements. In the course of the proceedings, a head of the Antitrust Division for the plaintiff State of Arizona during the litigation summarized Spiegel Liao & Kagay's contribution as follows:
"Spiegel Liao & Kagay had a reputation for excellent writing skills, a superior and complete understanding of all the factual and legal issues in the litigation, a willingness to tackle the most difficult projects, and a consistent history of producing superior work product."
The distinguished Special Master appointed by the court to review the work of the attorneys in the Petroleum Products Antitrust Litigation drew the following conclusions about the firm's performance:
"[Spiegel Liao & Kagay's] work included participation in resistance to the summary judgment motion and critically important prosecution of the victorious appeal. Presentation of the appeal involved preparation of a difficult and complex record and the briefing and argument of propositions of anti-trust law which were at that time a matter of paddling against a swift current. Work of the very highest quality was performed: the success of the appeal rescued the cases from apparent doom and none of the ensuing successes would have occurred but for that outcome. SLK's participation in pre-trial motion practice was predominant and successful. . . . "
While MDL-150 is the best known of SLK's accomplishments, it is far from the only one. Spiegel Liao & Kagay attorneys have taken active leadership roles in many complex and multi-district actions; for example: the Western Pipe Antitrust cases, the Antibiotics Antitrust Litigation, the Western Liquid Asphalt Antitrust Litigation, the Cement Antitrust Litigation, and the Armored Cars Antitrust Litigation.
We have also pursued many appeals presenting complex and novel issues, including:
- Young v. Tri-City Healthcare Dist., 210 Cal. App. 4th 35 (2012)
- Mileikowsky v. West Hills Hospital and Medical Center, 45 Cal.4th 1259 (2009)
- UAS Management, Inc., v. Mater Misericordiae Hospital, 169 Cal.App.4th 357 (2008)
- Yaqub v. Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System, 122 Cal.App.4th 474 (2004)
- Bay World Trading Ltd. v. Nebraska Beef, Inc., 101 Cal.App.4th 135 (2002)
- Cel-Tech Communications, Inc. v. Los Angeles Cellular Telephone Co, 20 Cal. 4th 163 (1999)
- United States v. Espy, 145 F.3d 1369 (D.C. Cir. 1998)
- In re Sealed Case, 121 F.3d 729 (D.C. Cir. 1997)
- Abramson v. Gonzales, 949 F.2d 1567 (11th Cir. 1992)
- In re Coordinated Pretrial Proceedings in Petroleum Products Antitrust Litigation, 906 F.2d 432 (9th Cir. 1990)
SLK partners were tapped to assist two Independent Counsel investigations. Former Independent Counsel Donald C. Smaltz has become of counsel to the firm, adding a wealth of experience in white-collar criminal defense to SLK's lineup.