Layne Kruse is a trial partner for antitrust and other complex business litigation.
He concentrates on antitrust and business litigation, government investigations and regulatory matters, international disputes and other business problems. He has represented clients in oil and gas production, health care, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, the marketing of refined petroleum products, insurance, publishing, consumer products, transportation and other industries.
In 2016, Layne was again named a BTI Client Service All Star in the US in a survey of more than 320 corporate counsel. He was also named as a Client Service All-Star in 2013 and 2011. Certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Chambers USA states that he is a "very skilled courtroom advocate who knows the law, but also has a manner that connects with local judges and juries."
Layne has been a first-chair litigator for jury trials, nationwide class actions, injunctions, arbitrations and appeals, representing both plaintiffs and defendants. He has appeared in courts throughout the United States from Florida to Alaska, from Hawaii to New York, and from California to the District of Columbia. Layne is a former judicial clerk to the Chief Judge, US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Layne has been Head of Antitrust and Competition, United States. He previously served on the Global Supervisory Board and the elected U.S. Partnership Committee.
J.D., Yale Law School
M.Sc., International Relations, London School of Economics
B.A., summa cum laude, Economics, Texas A&M University
Antitrust and Competition, Litigation and Enforcement:
- Lead counsel for hospital group in defending alleged merger of physician practices.
- Lead counsel for consumer products company, defending against conspiracy claim that a group of manufacturers refused to deal with a maker of new safety equipment and tried to influence standard setting process..
- Lead counsel for hospital group sued by a putative class of employees, alleging a conspiracy to suppress wages
- Lead counsel defending refiner alleged to have participated in price fixing conspiracy for gasoline on the West Coast
- Defended energy equipment company in arbitrations of dealer terminations in four states
- Defended energy company against allegations of a nation-wide conspiracy to fix prices of natural gas at the wellhead
- Defended freight forwarding company in alleged worldwide cartel to fix shipment prices.
- Lead counsel to defend insurer in alleged international conspiracy to fix property insurance rates
- Lead counsel for manufacturer in litigation with distributor over the location of new distributor
- Lead counsel for manufacturer of airport passenger boarding bridges in suit by competitor alleging monopolization based on predatory pricing, unfair competition, and tortious interference
- Lead counsel for gasoline refining company regarding state-wide gasoline price-fixing claim brought in federal court in Hawaii by state attorney general as parens patriae on behalf of all citizens against several refining companies
- Defended offshore petroleum drilling company, where plaintiffs alleged that defendants conspired to suppress the wages paid to workers in violation of the antitrust laws
- Lead counsel for a telecommunications company in monopolization, RICO, and tortious interference suit against another telecommunications company
- Lead counsel for plaintiff cardiac pacemaker manufacturer suing another medical device manufacturer for unfair competition, tortious interference, misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract, and attempted monopolization
- Defended Japanese trading company in ten-week jury trial, where U.S. investors were claiming damages for monopolization, restraint of trade, and tortious interference over control of timber concession in Indonesia, argued appeal before Fifth Circuit and judgment for client affirmed
- Defended book publisher accused by book retailer of price discrimination and other violations of antitrust laws in favor of larger book retailer
- Lead counsel for Japanese spark plug manufacturer in jury trial brought by U.S. distributor for restraint of trade, fraud, unfair competition, and breach of contract for altering distribution system; argued appeal before Fifth Circuit and judgment for client affirmed
- Counsel for plaintiff at TRO and preliminary injunction hearing and jury trial for daily newspaper suing another newspaper alleging monopolization and restraint of trade under state antitrust law, unfair competition, and tortious interference
- Defended gasoline refiner in trial in federal court brought by a terminated wholesale gasoline distributor under Petroleum Marketing Practices Act
Regulatory, Investigations and Compliance:
- Represented companies in criminal antitrust grand jury investigations in healthcare, paper products, cable television, chemicals, and telecommunications industries
- Counseled companies on creation of effective antitrust compliance programs for all levels of management
- Represented companies in investigations by FTC and the Texas State Attorney General, and most recently represented manufacturer in FTC investigation of the merger of two competitors
- Defended former officer of federal government-sponsored enterprise for housing in SEC investigation and in related securities litigation
- Counsel to former employee of financial services firm in CFTC market manipulation investigation
- Defended energy company accused of human rights violations under Alien Tort Claims Act in operations outside the U.S. based on Foreign Corrupt Practices Act prosecution
- Led internal corporate investigation on behalf of Board of Directors Audit Committee into accounting irregularities
- Counsel for construction company on internal investigation of allegations of bribery of employee of municipal authority
- Counsel on corporate investigation into possible sales to a sanctioned country in response to U.S. Customs inquiry
- Led internal investigation on behalf of board of directors of defense contractor accused by "whistleblower" of not complying with manufacturing standards for missile guidance systems
- Represented energy company in litigation with FTC over its approval authority for divestiture under terms of consent decree
Securities Litigation and Other Business Disputes
- Lead counsel for investment bank accused of improperly setting IPO price in violation of state securities laws
- Defended directors of selling corporation in derivative action by shareholders for breach of fiduciary duty
- Lead defense counsel for company in shareholder class action for securities fraud under Rule 10b-5 in federal court
- Counsel for officers of energy company in effort by minority shareholders to obtain consents to remove management in proxy contest
- Lead counsel for investor in a toy company sued in federal court in a class action securities fraud action under Rule 10b-5 for alleged insider trading
- Defended a creditor group of banks in a class action securities fraud claim in California under Rule 10b-5 brought by equity investors in a drilling company
- Defended national bank and its directors in class action securities fraud case under Rule 10b-5 in federal court
- Defended oilfield services company in misappropriation of trade secret claim related to the process for plugging wells in the North Sea
- Lead counsel for energy company before arbitration panel in dispute over obligation of a natural gas processor to process gas from Gulf of Mexico
- Defended insurance company in state-wide class action by insureds under homeowners policy
- Lead counsel for non-U.S. energy company in take-or-pay gas contract dispute related to North Sea; claim in excess of a billion dollars based on allegations of tortious interference, fraud, and breach of contract
- Lead counsel for cardiac pacemaker manufacturer in arbitration with German inventor over terms of patent license
- Defended foreign energy company in a dispute over oil concession in Central Asia; allegations of breach of contract, fraud, and other torts with damage claim in excess of one billion dollars
- Defended computer manufacturer in nationwide class action for alleged misrepresentations to consumers about computer microprocessor
- Lead counsel for energy company in class action brought by residents in Ecuador for alleged environmental damages and destruction of rainforests as a result of oil drilling
- Lead counsel for HMO in class action by Texas doctors against HMOs for alleged fraud, breach of contract, and Lanham Act violations
- Counsel for an energy company at trial and on appeal in dispute over enforcement of right of first refusal to purchase natural gas pipeline
- Lead counsel in jury trial in federal court for iron and steel processor for breach of contract due to failure to deliver scrap iron to Mexico
Pro Bono Criminal Defense
In 2013, Layne received Justice in Action Award from Texas Defender Service for representation of criminal defendants on death row. In February 2013 ABA Journal, Layne's pro bono work on capital murder death penalty cases was featured in a cover story. His pro bono criminal defense work includes:
- Counsel for Mexican national on death row, convicted of capital murder. Courts found client was intellectually disabled after ten years of litigation in state and federal courts and is now off death row
- Counsel for another death row inmate convicted of capital murder, where trial court found that client should not be executed because of intellectual disability; case continues on appeal
- Counsel for death row inmate in successful argument before Fifth Circuit that new trial should be granted for violation of Sixth Amendment right to jury trial.
- Counsel for Jewish inmate in federal prison who asserted First Amendment violation for the wrongful denial of Kosher food; argued appeal to the Fifth Circuit, which reversed dismissal of prisoner's case.
- District of Columbia Bar
- Texas State Bar
Rankings and recognitions
- Chambers USA, Antitrust (Band One - Texas)
- Legal 500 US, recommended lawyer, Antitrust: Civil Litigation/Class Actions, Antitrust: Cartel: Antitrust: Merger Control.
- Client Service All-Star, BTI Consulting Group, 2016, 2013, 2011
- Lawyer of the Year, Houston: Antitrust, Best Lawyers, 2017, 2016, 2011
- The Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers
- Expert Guides, Competition and Antitrust Lawyers, Legal Media Group
- Go-To-Guide, top five Texas antitrust lawyers, Texas Lawyer
- PLC's Global Counsel Dispute Resolution Handbook
- Texas Super Lawyers, Top 100 Houston Super Lawyers for 2014-2016
- Texas Super Lawyer, Antitrust Litigation, Business Litigation, Intellectual Property Litigation, Thomson Reuters, 2003-2016
- Who's Who Legal, Competition Law, Law Business Research Ltd., 2010, 2014
- Global Competition Review Live 3rd Annual Antitrust Litigation USA, New York, June 2017 (Panelist)
- State Aid; Competition Law v. Tax Breaks and Local Incentives, ABA 65th Antitrust Law Spring Meeting, Washington, D.C., March 2017 (Moderator)
- Telemedicine: Are Old Definitions Restricting Competition? ABA 64th Antitrust Law Spring Meeting, Washington, D.C., April 2016 (Moderator)
- Defending Civil Antitrust Suits in the Aftermath of Criminal Prosecutions; ABA Antitrust Spring Meeting, Washington, D.C. (March 2014) (Moderator)
- Antitrust Update for Petroleum Marketing; ABA Petroleum Marketing Attorneys Association, Washington, D.C, (April 2014) (Speaker)
- Speaker, Antitrust, Securities Fraud and other Business Torts in Texas, State Judges Conference, Austin, Texas (May 2014) (Speaker)
- Class Actions After Comcast, ABA Antitrust Spring Meeting, Washington, D.C., April 2013 (Moderator)
- "7th Annual Litigation Trends Results," Fulbright - Litigation Web Seminar, November 2, 2010 (Moderator)
- "Fulbright Forum: Perfect Storm? Privacy, Competition and Cloud Computing," Fulbright - Privacy and Competition Web Seminar, August 3, 2010 (Speaker)
- "Reducing Costs of Discovery: Is There Any Hope for Real Rule Reform?" Fulbright - Litigation Web Seminar, June 8, 2010 (Speaker)
- "New FTC Market Manipulation Rules for Petroleum Marketing: Successful Navigation through Murky Waters," ABA Petroleum Marketing Attorneys' Meeting, April 2010 (Speaker)
- "Business Torts: Antitrust, Securities Fraud, And Almost Everything Else," Texas Association of District Court Judges Annual Meeting, Austin, Texas, April 2010 (Speaker)
- "Shareholder Litigation in Texas: A Defendant's Perspective," 4th Annual Advanced Business Law Course, State Bar of Texas, Houston, Texas, October 26 - 27, 2006 (Moderator)
- "A Roundtable Discussion of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act," PriceWaterhouseCoopers Seminar, Houston, Texas, May 2005 (Panelist)
- "Problems in Multijurisdictional Litigation," Canadian Corporate Counsel Annual Meeting, Toronto, Canada, April 2005 (Panelist)
- "The Cost of Filling Up: Did the FTC Approve Too Many Petroleum Industry Mergers?," ABA Antitrust Spring Meeting, Washington, D.C., March 2005 (Panel Moderator)
Memberships and activities
- American Bar Association Antitrust Section (Chair, Exemptions and Immunities Committee; former Chair, Trial Practice Committee; Fuel and Energy Committee, Ethics and Professionalism Committee) and American Bar Association Litigation Section
- Texas Appleseed Foundation, Board of Directors, Chair
- State Bar of Texas - Antitrust and Business Litigation Section, former Chair
- Texas Association of Certified Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists, former President
- World Affairs Council of Houston, Board of Directors
- Texas A&M University, College of Liberal Arts Development Council, former Chair
- Fellow in American Bar Foundation, Texas Bar Foundation and Houston Bar Foundation
In a high-profile antitrust case with significant international implications, the US Supreme Court recently announced that it would review the Second Circuit’s decision in In re: Vitamin C Antitrust Litigation..
February 12, 2018
The US FTC announced increased reporting thresholds under the HSR Act .
January 26, 2018
Four of our US and Canada partners have been named 2016 BTI Client Service All-Stars.
February 10, 2016
Four partners from Norton Rose Fulbright's Canadian and US member firms have been named BTI Client Service All-Stars for 2016..
February 08, 2016