August 4, 2014

Massachusetts Court Hosts Debate On Whether Partners HealthCare Merger Settlement Will Affect The Common Health Of The Commonwealth

By Daniel Vitelli

A Massachusetts state court has extended the time for a contentious debate on a proposed antitrust settlement that the Massachusetts State Attorney General says will help hold down medical expenses, and critics say will result in greater market power for the state’s largest health care system.

Attorney General Martha Coakley is asking Suffolk Superior Court Judge Janet L. Sanders to approve a consent judgment that reflects a settlement agreement the Attorney General’s office has reached with Partners HealthCare System, Inc. The deal resolves an investigation by the Attorney General’s office into Partners’ acquisitions of South Shore Health and Educational Corp. (South Shore Hospital) and Hallmark Health Corp. (Lawrence Memorial Hospital and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital).

The court has scheduled a hearing on the proposed antitrust settlement for Sept. 29, 2014. The court has also extended the public comment period on the settlement to Sept. 15, and given the Attorney General until Sept. 25 to respond to the comments.

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Categories: Antitrust Litigation

    June 16, 2014

    In re Student Athlete Name and Likeness Litigation – Recap Of The First Week Of Trial

    By David Scupp

    The participants in the highly anticipated, and potentially transformative, antitrust trial In re Student Athlete Name and Likeness Licensing Litigation spent their first week of trial grappling with the myths and realities of college athletics.

    Plaintiffs, led by former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon, challenge the NCAA’s rules denying compensation to college athletes for use of their name and likeness in television broadcasts, rebroadcasts, game clips, and video games. To win, plaintiffs will have to overcome the NCAA’s “amateurism” justification for restricting its athletes’ compensation – a defense that the NCAA has employed successfully for decades. This will be one of, if not the, primary battlegrounds in the case. Much of the testimony heard during the first week of trial focused on this issue.

    Plaintiffs opened their case by calling O’Bannon himself. His testimony sought to debunk the “myth” of the “student athlete” that participates in college athletics merely as an “avocation.” He explained that at UCLA academics were not a priority, with the 40 to 45 hours he spent per week on basketball related activities, dwarfing the 12 hours per week he spent studying. O’Bannon asserted that he attended UCLA to play basketball, and only “masqueraded” as a student. He also made clear that he does not see college athletes as “amateurs.”

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    Categories: Antitrust Litigation

      June 16, 2014

      EU General Court Upholds Record 1.06 Billion Euro Antitrust Fine Against Intel

      A View from Constantine Cannon’s London Office

      By Irene Fraile

      The General Court of the European Union has dismissed Intel’s appeal of the European Commission´s decision fining the computer chip manufacturer a record 1.06 billion euros for breaching EU competition law.

      The European Commission imposed the fine on Intel in May 2009, after finding that Intel abused its dominant position in the x86 CPU microprocessors market by attempting to foreclose Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), its main rival, between 2002 and 2007.

      According to the Commission’s complaint, which was filed in 2000, Intel (a) had conditioned rebates to strategically important customers on their agreeing to source all, or almost all, of their supplies from Intel, and (b) had paid certain customers (HP, Acer, Lenovo) to halt, delay or limit the launch of specific products incorporating chips from AMD. The Commission also concluded that Intel had attempted to conceal these anticompetitive practices, which formed part of a long-term strategy to squeeze AMD out of the market.

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      Categories: Antitrust Enforcement, Antitrust Litigation, International Competition Issues

        June 6, 2014

        District Court Rejects “Double Counting” Attack On Damages Theory In Meritor’s Exclusive Dealing Case

        By Matthew L. Cantor and Allison F. Sheedy

        Judge Sue L. Robinson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware has denied a motion for summary judgment on damages in ZF Meritor LLC and Meritor Transmission Corporation v. Eaton Corporation, setting up the long-running antitrust case for a trial on damages that is slated to start on June 23, 2014.

        Plaintiffs are now free to seek the full $800 million they claim as damages, which, after trebling, would total $2.4 billion.  Plaintiffs have already won a jury verdict on liability that found that Defendant Eaton Corporation, an electrical and hydraulic systems maker, violated Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act by entering into unlawful exclusive dealing agreements.

        The plaintiffs are Meritor Transmission Corp. and an extinct joint venture between Meritor and a German manufacturer, which sold manual transmission systems to truck manufacturers.  Plaintiffs claimed that Eaton excluded their joint venture from the market by entering into long-term arrangements with major American truck manufacturers.  Plaintiffs alleged that these long-term arrangements—which included loyalty “discounts” that plaintiffs claimed were pricing penalties—were actually unlawful exclusive dealing agreements.

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        Categories: Antitrust Litigation

          May 22, 2014

          $20 Million Settlement Domino Falls In High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation, With More On The Brink

          By David Golden

          The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has granted the motion of plaintiffs in In Re: High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation for final approval of class action settlements with Pixar, Lucasfilm, and Intuit for $20 million.

          The court’s final approval of these settlements follows the recent announcement of another, much larger, proposed settlement in the same lawsuit with tech heavyweights Google, Apple, Intel, and Adobe Systems.  That settlement is reported to total $324 million.

          The class action complaint alleges that several high-profile companies conspired to fix wages and eliminate competition for workers in high-tech industries.  The case has received considerable media attention because of allegations that Steve Jobs, the late CEO of Apple, was centrally involved in the conspiracy at both Pixar and Apple.  In an unusual twist, one of the named class representatives recently objected to the proposed settlement with Google, Apple, Intel, and Adobe.  The court has scheduled a hearing regarding preliminary approval of that settlement for June 19, 2014.

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          Categories: Antitrust Litigation

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