George A. Nicoud III (“Trey”) is a partner in the San Francisco office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. He is a member of the firm’s Antitrust and Trade Regulation Practice and its Litigation Department.
Mr. Nicoud has concentrated his practice on antitrust matters, including litigation matters, for over twenty-five years. He represents clients in both civil and criminal investigations and lawsuits, and counsels clients on a variety of antitrust matters, including distribution practices, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, licensing, and other intellectual property matters.
He served on the Editorial Board for Antitrust Law Developments (Seventh), one of the leading treatises on U.S. antitrust law, and now serves as Vice-Chair of the Pricing Conduct Committee of the American Bar Association Section of Antitrust Law. Mr. Nicoud is recognized as a leading antitrust practitioner in the 2010-2012 editions of Global Competition Review’s International Who’s Who of Competition Lawyers and Economists, as a Northern California “SuperLawyer” for antitrust litigation in 2010-12, and as a “future star” in Institutional Investor’s 2011 and 2012 Benchmark Litigation Guide.
Immediately prior to joining Gibson Dunn, Mr. Nicoud served as Associate General Counsel of American Airlines, Inc., where he managed antitrust, environmental, intellectual property, and occupational safety and health legal services. While at American Airlines, Mr. Nicoud led the successful defense of United States v. AMR Corp., 140 F. Supp. 2d 1141 (D. Kan. 2001), aff’d, 335 F.3d 1109 (10th Cir. 2003), assisted in the company’s successful purchases of BusinessExpress, RenoAir, and substantially all of the assets of TWA, and managed the company’s response to a variety of lawsuits and government investigations. Since joining Gibson Dunn, Mr. Nicoud’s representative matters include:
Lead counsel for Norbord Industries Inc. in class actions and opt out cases filed by direct and indirect purchasers of oriented strand board (“OSB”), alleging that producers of OSB conspired to fix the price and reduce the supply of OSB. The class actions were settled shortly before trial for a small fraction of the claimed billions of dollars in damages. The opt out cases were later settled on terms favorable to Norbord Industries.
Lead counsel for American Airlines, Inc. and liaison counsel for defendants in civil treble damages actions filed by two groups of travel agents that opted out of a nationwide class action. The travel agents asserted violations of Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act in connection with changes in the base commissions paid by certain airlines to travel agents and the establishment of Orbitz by five airlines. The district court dismissed claims brought by one group of travel agents; the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed; a petition for writ of certiorari was denied. The claims of the second group of travel agents were settled on favorable terms.
- Co-lead counsel for Los Gatos Tomato Products in a criminal investigation of possible price-fixing of processed tomato products and in related civil antitrust litigation.
- Representation of Marriott International in connection with the formation of RoomKey.com.
- Representation of makers of auto parts in antitrust grand jury investigations.
- Representation of Atlantic Coast Airlines in its successful efforts to defeat a takeover effort by the parent of Mesa Airlines, thereby allowing Atlantic Coast to pursue its plans to cease operating as a regional carrier for United Air Lines and instead launch Independence Air.
- Representation of Sempra Energy and its affiliates in a civil class action alleging that Sempra Energy and its affiliates conspired with El Paso Natural Gas Company to limit the supply of natural gas to California, thereby causing the California energy crisis in the year 2000. The case was tried for several weeks before a jury in California state court, but was settled on favorable terms before plaintiffs finishing putting on their case.
- Representation of Applied Materials, Inc. in a civil suit alleging that Applied Materials was seeking to monopolize the refurbishment of used Applied Materials semiconductor fabrication equipment. The case was settled on terms favorable to Applied Materials.
- Representation of Amazon.com in its acquisition of Zappos.com.
- Representation of Applied Materials, Inc. in its acquisition of Brooks Software.
- Representation of Cadence Design Systems, Inc. in its acquisition of Verisity Ltd.
- Representation of Seagate Technology in its acquisition of Maxtor Corporation.