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January 11, 2024

ABA Antitrust Law Section explores diversity and antitrust in Jan. 16 D.C. program

CHICAGO, Jan. 11, 2024The American Bar Association Antitrust Law Section will explore an often overlooked legal case in the debate over antitrust law’s role in resolving societal issues by hosting a mock trial and panel discussion on a 1981 federal court decision involving Vietnamese fishermen and the Ku Klux Klan.

2024 Diverse Perspectives in Antitrust
Sponsored by the ABA Antitrust Law Section

Tuesday, Jan. 16, 1:30-5:45 p.m. EST (in person only)

National Press Club
529 14th Street, NW, 13th floor
Washington, D.C. 20045

The reenactment of the argument in Vietnamese Fishermen's Association v. Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and the panel afterward are intended to shed light on how antitrust claims may arise in the context of civil rights issues and whether antitrust should play a role in resolving civil rights and diversity issues.

The case stems from the late 1970s and early 1980s, with the fall of Saigon and the United States withdrawing from Vietnam when many of the Vietnamese who had fought alongside Americans fled Vietnam and re-settled in the Gulf Coast, working in the shrimping industry. The white fishermen in the area undertook various actions to deter competition from the Vietnamese fishermen.

These actions and skirmishes between white and Vietnamese fishermen led to arson and even deaths. In 1981, in response to an invitation from white fishermen, armed KKK members tried to destroy Vietnamese Americans’ fishing businesses by burning their boats, terrorizing them and threatening their lives. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a case on April 16, 1981, to stop the KKK’s campaign.

While Vietnamese Fishermen is a civil rights case, antitrust claims played an interesting and important role in the plaintiffs’ arguments, and ultimately formed a part of the U.S. District Court’s opinion in favor of the plaintiffs.

The full agenda, including participants in the mock trial and the panel discussion that follows, is here.

Media are welcome to attend but must register in advance by 10 a.m. EST Tuesday, Jan. 16, by emailing [email protected]. The ABA Antitrust Law Section reserves the right to limit the number of media per organization based on availability of seating.

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