Bruce D. Sokler

Bruce D. Sokler

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The FTC and State of Illinois Solidify Victory Blocking Chicago Hospital Merger

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the State of Illinois successfully concluded their challenge to the proposed merger of Advocate Health Care and NorthShore University Health System earlier this month, when the U.S....more

3/25/2017 - Anti-Competitive Antitrust Litigation FTC Hospital Mergers Mergers

Members of Ophthalmologist Group Charged with Illegal Boycott of Health Plan

An ophthalmologist cooperative in Puerto Rico settled charges with the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) last week that it orchestrated an illegal boycott of a health plan. The FTC alleged that the cooperative urged its...more

1/25/2017 - Anticompetitive Behavior Boycotts Consent Order Cooperative Agreements Employer Group Health Plans FTC Health Care Providers Medicare Puerto Rico Reimbursements

FTC Announces Annual Revision to HSR Jurisdictional Thresholds

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced on January 19, 2017 increased jurisdictional thresholds for premerger notification filings under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended (the HSR Act)....more

1/20/2017 - Antitrust Provisions Filing Fees FTC Hart-Scott-Rodino Act Premerger Notifications Threshold Requirements

FTC and DOJ Issue Antitrust Guidance for Human Resource Professionals

Last week the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice jointly issued guidance to educate companies, and in particular human resource professionals, on how antitrust laws apply in the employment arena,...more

10/28/2016 - DOJ FTC Hiring & Firing Human Resources Professionals No-Hire/No-Solicitation Agreements Non-Solicitation Agreements Popular Wage and Hour Wage-Fixing

FTC Fashions Creative Remedy to Permit Presumptively Anticompetitive Merger for Financially Failing Medical Practice

The Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC” or “Commission”) has made its preference known for structural, rather than conduct, remedies when attempting to craft consent solutions in reviewing antitrust provocative mergers. In...more

10/11/2016 - FTC Health Care Providers Mergers Physicians Settlement

Big Summary Judgment Win for Hospital Defending $300M Exclusive Dealing Antitrust Suit

After fending off a motion for judgment on the pleadings in March 2015, a small hospital in Peoria, Illinois lost on summary judgment in its $300 million antitrust suit alleging illegal exclusive dealing and attempted...more

10/5/2016 - Antitrust Litigation Antitrust Provisions Blue Cross Blue Shield Exclusive Dealing Agreements FTC Health Care Providers Health Insurance Healthcare Hospitals Monopolization Summary Judgment

Activist Investor to Pay Record Fine for Violating HSR Reporting Requirements

The Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced this week that an activist investment manager has agreed to pay a record $11 million to settle allegations that it violated the requirements of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust...more

7/14/2016 - Baker Hughes Corporate Counsel DOJ Enforcement Actions FTC Halliburton Hart-Scott-Rodino Act Investment Funds Investment-Only Exemption Investors Popular Reporting Requirements

Federal Court Relies on “Evolving Landscape of Health Care” Post-Affordable Care Act to Reject FTC Challenge to Hospital Merger

Judge takes “the healthcare world as it is, and not as the FTC wishes it to be.” “We find it no small irony that the same federal government under which the FTC operates has created a climate that virtually compels...more

5/12/2016 - Affordable Care Act Antitrust Litigation FTC Hospital Mergers Preliminary Injunctions

FTC Settles Monopolization Charges Stemming from Contract Exclusivity Terms Used by First-to-Market Medical Polymer Maker

The mere possession of monopoly power does not violate federal antitrust laws. The laws only address the anticompetitive acquisition, maintenance, or abuse of that power. The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) entered into a...more

4/29/2016 - Abuse of Power Anticompetitive Agreements Competition Consent Order FTC FTC Act Medical Devices Monopolization Product Exclusivity Section 5

FTC Increases HSR Jurisdictional Thresholds

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced on January 21, 2016 increased jurisdictional thresholds for premerger notification filings under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended (the HSR Act)....more

1/25/2016 - Federal Register Filing Fees FTC Hart-Scott-Rodino Act Jurisdiction Premerger Notifications Statutory Waiting Period

FTC Sets Berks County’s Broken Orthopedic Market

Keystone Orthopaedic Specialists, LLC (“Keystone”), and Orthopaedic Associates of Reading, Ltd. (“OA”) reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission last week that they had violated the antitrust laws through the...more

10/21/2015 - Anti-Competitive Competition Consent Decrees Enforcement Actions FTC Hiring & Firing Joint Contracting Market Power Physicians

FTC Merger Challenge Based on Harm to Potential Competition Rejected by District Court

In what has become rare of late, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) suffered a litigation loss in a merger case with a district court’s denial of a preliminary injunction to block the deal pending administrative litigation....more

9/28/2015 - Competition FTC Injunctive Relief Preliminary Injunctions The Clayton Act

Investment Fund Violates “Investment-Only” HSR Exemption

At the request of the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC” or “Commission”), the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) filed this week in federal court a proposed settlement to charges that an investment fund violated the...more

8/27/2015 - Board of Directors DOJ Enforcement Actions FTC Hart-Scott-Rodino Act Injunctive Relief Premerger Notifications Settlement Agreements Shareholders Third Point Yahoo!

Another FTC Conduct Case to Bolster Generic Drug Competition: Pharmaceuticals Charged with Illegal Non-Compete for Generic ADHD...

The Federal Trade Commission’s (“FTC” or “Commission”) ever-expanding list of enforcement actions to preserve competition for generic pharmaceuticals just grew in a new direction. This week, two generic pharmaceutical...more

8/21/2015 - Consent Order Enforcement Actions FTC Generic Drugs Non-Compete Agreements Pharmaceutical Industry

West Virginia AG Clears Merger Creating Second Largest Hospital Chain in the State with Conduct Remedy

The federal antitrust enforcement agencies have trumpeted their preferences for structural, as opposed to conduct, remedies as the solution to potentially anticompetitive mergers. In contrast, State Attorneys General have...more

8/3/2015 - Anticompetitive Agreements Antitrust Provisions Attorney Generals FTC Health Care Providers Hospital Mergers Non-Compete Agreements Physicians Sherman Act

Divestiture Offer Fails to Save Merger Where FTC Wins on Market Definition Based on Customer Type

Eighteen months after the deal was first announced, Sysco Corporation (“Sysco”) and US Foods, Inc. (“USF”) abandoned their $3.5 billion merger following the Federal Trade Commission’s (the “FTC” or “Commission”) decisive...more

7/8/2015 - Corporate Counsel Distributors Divestiture Food Supply FTC Mergers Preliminary Injunctions Sysco Trucking Industry US Foods Young Lawyers

Harm to Potential Competition Triggers FTC Merger Challenge

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC” or “Commission”) filed an administrative complaint last week challenging the proposed $1.9 billion merger of Steris Corporation (“Steris”) and Synergy Health plc (“Synergy”), charging that...more

6/5/2015 - Corporate Counsel FTC Hart-Scott-Rodino Act Health Care Providers Horizontal Mergers Inversion Medical Devices Mergers

A Split FTC Accepts Fix-It-First Divestiture Remedy for Cigarette Merger

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) accepted on Tuesday from Reynolds American Inc. (“Reynolds”) and Lorillard Inc. (“Lorillard”), subject to final approval, a Consent Order settling the agency’s significant competitive...more

5/30/2015 - Acquisitions Antitrust Division Antitrust Investigations Consent Order Divestiture FTC FTC Act Mergers RJ Reynolds Settlement Offer The Clayton Act Tobacco

FTC Flushes McWane in a Big Eleventh Circuit Exclusive Dealing Win

The situations where exclusive dealing policies, explicit or tied to an aggressive discounting program, cross the line under the rule-of-reason remain far from clear. Because it involved appellate review of a Federal Trade...more

4/23/2015 - Appeals Distributors Exclusive Dealing Agreements FTC Manufacturers Monopolization

FTC Settles Radioactive Allegations Against Cardinal Health with a Near Record-Breaking Disgorgement Agreement

In a 3-2 decision, as part of its aggressive antitrust enforcement in health care industries, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC or the Commission) announced that Cardinal Health, Inc. (Cardinal) agreed to pay $26.8 million to...more

4/22/2015 - Antitrust Litigation Cardinal Health Disgorgement Enforcement Actions FTC Health Care Providers Healthcare Pharmaceutical Industry Price Manipulation

Hospital Wins First Round Against Largest Rival in Antitrust Suit Alleging Illegal Exclusive Dealing Agreements with Insurers

The waves of change affecting health care providers include reimbursement and funding developments, the impact of the Affordable Care Act, technological and medical advances, provider network design transformations imposed by...more

3/31/2015 - Affordable Care Act Antitrust Litigation Antitrust Provisions Exclusive Dealing Agreements FTC Health Care Providers Health Insurance Healthcare Hospitals

FTC Looks to Accelerate Oncology Drug Growth by Requiring Novartis to Divest Two Protein Inhibitors in Its Clinical Development...

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) on Monday completed its review of Novartis AG’s (“Novartis”) proposed $16 billion acquisition of GlaxoSmithKline’s (“GSK”) oncology drug portfolio with an announced consent decree that...more

3/2/2015 - Divestiture FTC GlaxoSmithKline Novartis Pharmaceutical Patents Prescription Drugs

No Active State Supervision, No Antitrust Immunity for North Carolina State Dental Board

On February 25, 2015, in a 6-3 decision authored by Justice Kennedy, the Supreme Court upheld the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) decision finding that the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners (Board), although a state...more

2/27/2015 - Anti-Competitive Antitrust Litigation Dentists FTC Governmental Immunity Immunity NC Board of Dental Examiners v FTC SCOTUS State Action Immunity

DOJ Releases Electrifying New Guidance on Standard-Essential Patent Policy

The Department of Justice (the “Department” or “DOJ”) continued its multi-pronged defense of standards-setting organizations (SSOs) who adopt patent policies to prevent hold-up during licensing negotiations. Last week’s...more

2/12/2015 - DOJ FTC IEEE ITC New Guidance Patents RAND Standard Essential Patents USPTO

Ninth Circuit Affirms FTC’s Challenge to Hospital-Physician Group Merger, While Rejecting Efficiencies and Health Care Quality...

In a much anticipated appellate health care antitrust decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a district court’s finding that a consummated hospital-physician group merger violated Section 7...more

2/12/2015 - Antitrust Litigation FTC Healthcare Hospital Mergers Hospitals Physicians St. Luke's The Clayton Act

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