Our colleagues at Epstein Becker Green have issued a client alert: “U.S. Supreme Court Opinion Addresses Availability of State-Action Antitrust Immunity,” by Patricia M. Wagner, Ross K. Friedberg, and Daniel C. Fundakowski.
Following is an excerpt:
On February 19, 2013, in FTC v. Phoebe Putney Health System, Inc., a case that highlights vigorous enforcement activities by the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) in the health care arena, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a unanimous opinion (“Opinion”) that overturned a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and limited the invocation of the state-action doctrine where state laws grant government authorities general corporate powers. This new decision supports the FTC’s position that it has the authority to pursue a challenge to the hospital acquisition at issue in the case. Although the Opinion addressed the specific legislative powers granted to a hospital authority under state legislation, the Opinion will likely impact judicial interpretation of other state legislation that purports to provide parties with immunity from the federal antitrust laws, such as state hospital cooperation acts, and similar types of legislation being created to allow cooperation and integration of hospital and provider systems.