I often feel a certain deflation after the Supreme Court decides an antitrust case. After watching a case for months, prognosticating about it with other antitrusters, reading umpteen blog posts, reading the briefs if you’re into it and even some amici briefs if you’re really into it, the Court then rules one way or the other, and usually tailors its opinion pretty narrowly, breaking no meaningfully new ground. I suppose many will have that feeling about Tuesday’s decision in Federal Trade Commission v. Phoebe Putney Mem. Hosp. Sys., and some are already saying that Justice Sotomayor’s brief opinion for a unanimous Court is just a narrow application of garden variety state action [...]
This morning the Court granted certiorari in Federal Trade Commission v. Phoebe Putney Health, No. 11-1160, on appeal from an execrable pair of opinions in the Eleventh Circuit and the Middle District of Georgia.
At issue is a local hospital merger that would give the acquiror 100% in its county and upwards of 90% in a larger multi-county area of rural southern Georgia. The Commission’s otherwise slam-dunk 13(b) action was stymied, however, because the merger received an extremely cursory, purely formal and after-the-fact rubber-stamp from a largely inactive county hospital commission created under a 1941 Georgia statute. Primarily at issue was whether the state of Georgia had “clearly [...]
Some U.S. Supreme Court watchers may have been disappointed that the Court on the last day of the October 2011 term–according to the Court’s calendar–did not decide the fate of President Obama’s health care overhaul legislation. That decision is most likely to come within the next three days, before the Court wraps up for the summer.
However, the antitrust community got a rare treat today. The Supreme Court granted petitions for certiorari in two closely-watched antitrust cases: a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) action challenging a Georgia hospital combination, and a consumer class action against cable provider Comcast Corporation.
In the FTC action, the Court will consider the scope of [...]
The next Term may see significant SCOTUS consideration of the state action immunity, the first such case since 1992. The decision below in the defendants’ favor was quite plainly wrong, and so it might also become only the second antitrust case in twenty years in which the Court has ruled for a plaintiff. That would be a nice result since it would shield the plaintiff here, the Federal Trade Commission, from yet another unjustified indignity at the hands of the increasingly anti-enforcement courts of appeals (see, e.g., this recent decision).
To wit, while no petition has yet been filed, the Solicitor General has confirmed that he will seek review in FTC v. Phoebe Putney Health System, I [...]