Tag Archives: Patricia M. Wagner

Proposed Amendment to California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) Reaffirms Employer Notice Requirement and Employee Private Right of Action for Failure to Implement Cybersecurity Safeguards to Take Effect January 1, 2020

The recently proposed amendment to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) should be a wake up call to those employers who are not already actively planning for the January 1, 2020 compliance deadline.

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FTC’s Ability to Seek Relief in Federal District Court Based on Past Conduct Is Called Into Question

Section 13(b) of the Federal Trade Commission Act (“Act”), 15 U.S.C. § 53(b), authorizes the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) to, among other things, seek injunctive relief (including preliminary and permanent injunctive relief) in federal district court in aid of an administrative proceeding “[w]henever the [FTC] has reason to believe … that any person, partnership, or corporation is violating, or is about to violate, any provision of law enforced by the [FTC] ….” Despite the explicit—and what would appear to be unambiguous—language of this provision, the FTC has taken the position that its authority to seek injunctive relief in federal district court pursuant to section 13(b) of the Act extends to situations where past conduct is “likely to recur” or “there exists some cognizable danger of a recurrent violation.” The FTC’s position is based, in part, on U.S. Supreme Court precedent holding that injunctive relief may be an appropriate remedy in situations where past conduct is likely to recur.

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Will the FTC Match DOJ’s Efforts to Speed Up Merger Reviews?

On October 3, 2018, at a hearing before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights (“Hearing”), Makan Delrahim, the Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (“DOJ”), announced efforts by DOJ to “modernize and speed up the process of merger review.” Among other things, DOJ stated that it would endeavor to resolve most merger investigations within six months of filings. Relatedly, DOJ plans to make modifications to its second request process, including reforms to its timing agreements with merging parties.

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Does a Bankruptcy Proceeding Change the HSR Filing Process?

The fact that an entity to be acquired is going through a bankruptcy process does not change the filing requirements under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act (“HSR”). However, if the entity is going through a bankruptcy under Section 363(b) of the Bankruptcy Code (11 U.S.C. §363(b)), the HSR process is governed by a 15-day waiting period, as opposed to the 30-day waiting period that applies to transactions that are not occurring under Section 363(b) of the Bankruptcy Code.

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What to Expect When the FTC Loses a Request for a Preliminary Injunction

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) may challenge conduct when it has “reason to believe” that a violation of the laws that the FTC enforces has occurred. The agency does so by filing an administrative complaint, which is adjudicated before an administrative law judge, much like a trial proceeding, albeit utilizing the rules of practice adopted by the FTC.

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Antitrust Safety Zone for Mergers Involving Small Hospitals

Statement 1 of the Statements of Antitrust Enforcement Policy in Health Care recognizes that small hospitals, particularly those in rural areas, may be unable to achieve cost savings through efficiencies, such as those that could be achieved by larger hospitals. Statement 1 also notes that, in many cases, a small rural hospital may be the only hospital in the relevant geographic market. As a result, Statement 1 provides an antitrust safety zone for mergers involving small hospitals; the antitrust enforcement agencies will not challenge transactions involving these small hospitals, “absent extraordinary circumstances.”

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Annual HSR Report: No New Challenges to Hospital or Ambulatory Surgery Center Mergers in 2017

On April 11, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) released their 40th Annual Hart-Scott-Rodino Report (“HSR Report”) detailing merger enforcement activity in fiscal year 2017 (covering October 1, 2016, to September 30, 2017). According to the HSR Report, despite the annual increase in reporting thresholds, there were 2,052 reportable transactions in 2017, representing a 12 percent increase over fiscal year 2016. Almost 5 percent of those transactions were in the health services industry.

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ONC’s Draft Interoperability Framework Lays Out Guidelines Pushing for More Cohesion Among Health Integrated Networks

On January 5, 2018, consistent with the 21st Century Cures Act’s focus on creating interoperability and correspondingly a Trusted Exchange, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (“ONC”) released its “Draft Trusted Exchange Framework” (“Draft Framework”).  The Draft Framework is intended to streamline the exchange of Electronic Health Information (“EHI”) so that both health care providers and patients have better access to health information, thus improving communication and quality health care.  EHI includes information beyond protected health information, such as health information from other consumer driven devices.  ONC has asked for public comments; the comment period is open until February 18, 2018.

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Year-End Reviews Highlight Antitrust Enforcement in, And Guidance Relevant to, Health Care Industry; Aggressive Enforcement is Likely to Continue in 2017

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (“Antitrust Division”) released their respective year-end reviews highlighted by aggressive enforcement in the health care industry. The FTC, in particular, indicated that 47% of its enforcement actions during calendar year 2016 took place in the health care industry (including pharmaceuticals and medical devices). Of note were successful challenges to hospital mergers in Pennsylvania (Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Pinnacle Health System), and Illinois (Advocate Health Care Network and North Shore University Health System). In both actions, the FTC was able to convince the court that the merger would likely substantially lessen competition for the provision of general acute-care hospital services in relevant areas in violation of section 7 of the Clayton Act. See FTC v. Penn State Hershey Med. Center, 838 F. 3d 327 (3d Cir. 2016); and FTC v. Advocate Health Care Network et al No. 1:15-cv-11473, 2017 U. S. Dist. LEXIS 37707 (N.D. Ill.Mar. 16, 2017)

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