Bona Law (Detroit)

Steven J. Cernak

Bona Law (Detroit)

Steve Cernak is partner at Bona Law. He served as in-house antitrust attorney at General Motors for more than 20 years, ultimately responsible for global antitrust compliance, merger reviews and litigation. As a result, Steve Cernak has experience tackling the toughest antitrust issues, and explaining them to everyone in an organization from the CEO to workers in the factories. After leaving GM, he spent seven years at Schiff Hardin’s Ann Arbor office, serving clients both inside and outside the automotive community. As he did at Schiff Hardin, Steve Cernak now assists clients big and small on a wide array of competition and consumer protection matters, including compliance programs; joint efforts with competitors; pricing strategies and programs; and merger reviews and filings. Steve Cernak has served in the leadership of the Antitrust Section of the American Bar Association for more than 20 years, and is currently the Section Chief Marketing Officer. That position keeps him connected to the global community and up-to-date on developments. Steve is a prolific writer for The Antitrust Lawyer Blog, WoltersKluwer’s AntitrustConnect Blog and various Law360, Lexis and Westlaw publications. The second edition of his textbook of antitrust summaries and materials, Antitrust Simulations, was published in 2019 by West Academic. He updates his Antitrust in Distribution and Franchising annually for publication in the LexisNexis Antitrust Law & Strategy Series. Steve is also a frequent commenter on antitrust developments, both on social and mainstream media. Steve is a regular teacher at both the University of Michigan Law School and the Thomas M. Cooley Law School Corporate & Finance LLM program at Western Michigan University. He also taught for three years at Wayne State University Law School.


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Bona Law (San Diego)
Bona Law (San Diego)
Bona Law (San Diego)
Bona Law (San Diego)
Bona Law (San Diego)


5257 Bulletin

Steven J. Cernak, Luis Blanquez The US FTC files an administrative complaint alleging that an electronic cigarettes company entered into a series of agreements that eliminated competition in violation of federal antitrust laws (Altria Group / JUUL Labs)


The FTC’s challenge of Altria Group’s proposed minority investment in JUUL Labs, Inc. (JLI) in April 2020 generated attention in both the mainstream media and the competition law press. Press coverage since that time has hit the latest developments but often missed the important issues this (...)

Steven J. Cernak, Luis Blanquez The US DoJ launches 3 antitrust enforcement actions against companies in the airline, publishing and sugar industries (American Airlines / JetBlue / Penguin Random House / Simon & Schuster / U.S. Sugar / Imperial Sugar)


Meanwhile, the DOJ Antitrust Division Launches Merger Challenges in the Airline, Publishing, and Sugar Industries* As we have reported numerous times (most recently here), the Federal Trade Commission has been making headlines with some controversial changes to U.S. merger review procedures, (...)

Luis Blanquez, Steven J. Cernak The US President Joe Biden issues an executive order on promoting competition in the American economy calling on the DoJ and FTC to enforce the antitrust laws vigorously


Antitrust Political Developments: Biden Administration Issues Executive Order on Competition and Congress Proposes Six New Antitrust Bills* This month President Biden issued the Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy (the “Order”). The Order aims to reduce the trend of (...)

Steven J. Cernak, Luis Blanquez The US District Court for the District of Colombia dismisses a case filed by the FTC against a Big Tech company due to the lack of plausible evidence that the company has monopoly power in the personal social networking services market (Facebook)


Facebook Wins First Antitrust Battle: The FTC and State Enforcers Fail to Establish (For Now) Facebook’s Monopoly on Social Media Networks (with update)* In late 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the attorneys-general (AGs) from 48 states filed nearly identical antitrust lawsuits (...)

Steven J. Cernak The US Supreme Court affirms lower court decisions that certain restrictions imposed by a national sports association on educational benefits for student-athletes violate antitrust laws, a decision that may help future antitrust defendants (NCAA / Alston)


On June 21, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed lower court decisions and held that certain NCAA restrictions on educational benefits for student-athletes violated Sherman Act Section 1. The unanimous opinion was a clear win for the plaintiff class and almost certainly will lead to big (...)

Steven J. Cernak The US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee holds hearings of a multinational online retail platform for antitrust claims (Amazon / Google / Apple / Facebook)


Big Tech Hearings: What Do They Tell Us About Amazon and Antitrust?* The U.S. House Antitrust Subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee’s recent hearings into “big tech” and antitrust were “must see TV” for antitrust attorneys. Over the five hours of testimony, many interesting questions were asked (...)

Steven J. Cernak The US District Court for the Central District of California hears private enforcement actions alleging price discrimination by an energy drink manufacturer (Living Essentials)


This article has been nominated for the 2019 Antitrust Writing Awards. Click here to learn more about the Antitrust Writing Awards. ROBINSON-PATMAN SUITS AGAINST 5-HOUR ENERGY MAKER PROVIDE LESSONS FOR OTHER SUPPLIERS* Living Essentials LLC, the maker of 5-hour Energy drinks, has faced two (...)

Steven J. Cernak The US District Court for the Northern District of California receives a complaint likely to provide lessons about manufacturers’ efforts regarding resale prices (Costco / Johnson & Johnson)


Costco v. J&J: The Latest and Largest in a Long Line of Pricing Cases* It’s not often that one Fortune 50 company sues another – but that’s what happened earlier this week when Costco sued Johnson & Johnson (J&J) in California federal court over J&J’s attempts to limit Costco’s (...)

Steven J. Cernak The US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania allows a bundling claim to proceed under Sherman Act Section 1, even after dismissing other claims for lack of market or monopoly power (Schuylkill Health Systems / Cardinal Health)


Can Bundled Discounts Be Illegal If Offered by a Firm Without Market Power?* Bundled discounts are common marketing schemes that normally benefit consumers and competition; however, courts and commentators have found certain circumstances when they might be illegal monopolization. The line (...)

Steven J. Cernak The US Antitrust enforcing Agencies hold a one-day public workshop to explore the economics and legal policy implications of certain pricing practices, such as loyalty and bundled pricing


FTC/DOJ Workshop on Conditional Pricing Practices – Good as Far as It Goes* On June 23, 2014, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice Antitrust Division held a workshop on “conditional pricing practices”—loyalty discounts, bundled discounts and similar pricing techniques. Many (...)

Steven J. Cernak A U.S. District Court denies three motions for summary judgment for failing to provide sufficient evidence of a relevant market and of manifest anticompetitive effects (American Needle / New Orleans Louisiana Saints)


So Whatever Happened to American Needle?* You remember American Needle, right? It is the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court opinion that explains when the action of a joint venture is the action of a single entity or, instead, the result of an agreement among the joint venture members. Now back on (...)

Steven J. Cernak The U.S. District Court of Dallas dismisses antitrust claims because plaintiffs did not plausibly state an agreement on the market for direct online sale of hotel room reservations leaving the question of potential anticompetitive effect of the most favored nation (MFN) clause without an answer (OTC / Hotel Booking)


OTA Case Turns Out to Be Less about MFNs and More about Agreement* Back in September 2012, the potential anticompetitive aspects of most favored nation (MFN) clauses was the hot antitrust topic. While antitrust counselors (and courts) had found the clauses to be innocuous almost all the time, (...)

Steven J. Cernak The US FTC finds violation of law with respect to the adoption of an exclusive dealing policy to maintain a monopoly position on the domestic fittings market (McWane)


Why the FTC’s McWane Opinions Raise More Questions Than They Answer* The Federal Trade Commission is meant to be, and is, an expert body on antitrust laws. So, when a case like McWane—that raises both collusion and exclusion issues—is in front of the FTC, it seems reasonable to expect to receive (...)

Steven J. Cernak The US District Court of California denies motion to dismiss in a case of anticompetitive exclusive dealing on the market for digital photo services for the tourism industry (Pro Search Plus / VFM Leonardo)


Successful Mousetrap Builders Beware – Your Sales Contract Just Might Be “De Facto Exclusive Dealing”* Say you built a better mousetrap, the world beat a path to your door and now you have a high share of the mousetrap market. Let’s further assume that your customers find “the cost of switching (...)

Steven J. Cernak The U.S. FTC issues final changes to the premerger notification rules that require companies in the pharmaceutical industry to report certain proposed acquisitions of exclusive patent rights to the FTC and the DoJ for antitrust review


Is the FTC Picking on the Pharmaceutical Industry Through New HSR Rules?* Effective December 16, 2013, Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) coverage of exclusive licenses of patents will change. As HSR practitioners know well, the Federal Trade Commission’s Premerger Notification Office (PNO) has (...)

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