USA Tipline

Check your mailbox: The Tipline for 19 July 2019

GCR USA - 19 July 2019

The Department of Justice will have the opportunity to make its case before Judge Richard Leon today for its settlement resolving CVS/Aetna. The agency was largely left out of the hearings last month, in which concerned advocacy groups made their case against the deal. Meanwhile, the agency issued a second request relating to Waste Management's proposed purchase of a rival, and is still negotiating the terms of a settlement with T-Mobile and Sprint.

Feelin’ hot hot hot: The Tipline for 18 July 2019

GCR USA - 18 July 2019

Things are heating up in the nation’s capital. While the heat index in Washington, DC, touched 106 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Celsius) yesterday, the back-and-forth between the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission in the latter’s Qualcomm litigation is seeing some new sparks fly. The DOJ’s antitrust division filed a statement of interest earlier this week encouraging an appellate court to reverse a decision in the commission’s favour. Forecasts suggest temperatures will continue to rise this week. As for the licensing quarrel between the two US antitrust enforcers, a spokeswoman for the FTC said the agency had no immediate response to the DOJ's statement, but "stay tuned".

Remembering Justice John Paul Stevens: The Tipline for 17 July 2019

GCR USA - 17 July 2019

Retired Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens died yesterday at the age of 99. Stevens was a founding member of the Chicago law firm Rothschild Stevens Barry & Myers, where he focused on antitrust law. He also taught antitrust at the University of Chicago Law School, was a member of the Attorney General’s National Committee to Study Antitrust Law and served on the House of Representatives antitrust subcommittee as it investigated industries such as professional baseball. As a justice, Stevens’ most significant antitrust majority opinions likely came in sports-related cases: American Needle v National Football League and National Collegiate Athletic Association v Board of Regents. Both rulings held that the sports organisations fell under the jurisdiction of the Sherman Act.

What’s for lunch?: The Tipline for 16 July 2019

GCR USA - 16 July 2019

Surescripts has asked a federal district court to dismiss the Federal Trade Commission’s complaint alleging that the health information company monopolised the two-sided market for electronic prescription services. But the company also challenged the commission’s ability to bring the case outside its internal administrative court. Does Surescripts prefer the somewhat cushioned seats of the FTC’s tribunal to the unforgiving wooden benches in the district court? Does its counsel at Latham & Watkins prefer the lunch specials at the commission’s aptly named “Top of the Trade” cafeteria?

Leavin’ Town: The Tipline for 15 July 2019

GCR USA - 15 July 2019

Breakups stink. Participants in monogamous relationships luckily only have to face one at a time, but the City of Oakland has been double dumped. The Raiders football team and Golden State Warriors basketball team are both splitting up with the city they once called home as they take their talents to Las Vegas and San Francisco, respectively. The split with the Raiders has become so messy that the city has filed an antitrust lawsuit against the National Football League. The Department of Justice’s antitrust division has thrown a yellow penalty flag at the litigation, contending the city cannot claim lost tax revenue under US competition law.

The science of compliance: The Tipline for 12 July 2019

GCR USA - 12 July 2019

Compliance might just be the most boring three syllables in antitrust reporting. Have you ever heard the story about the enormous cartel that was prevented by a robust compliance programme? No, because it was never broken up by the Department of Justice’s antitrust division and thus never reported on by GCR. Assistant attorney general Makan Delrahim yesterday announced the agency will now consider crediting a company’s existing compliance programmes during criminal sentencing in an effort to encourage more compliance investment. Delrahim said the change would ideally prevent antitrust violations from occurring, but he did not point out that this could potentially cut out quality GCR content.

Location, location, location: The Tipline for 11 July 2019

GCR USA - 11 July 2019

While echolocation is used for navigation by bats (and some shrews, birds and whales, according to Encyclopedia Britannica), heir location is a distinctly human business – companies find unknowing heirs to estates and facilitate those heirs’ claims in exchange for a fee. One firm in that business pleaded guilty yesterday to allocating customers after a legal battle that involved an initial dismissal on procedural grounds, and a rule of reason reversal. We also have updates on scheduling in the Department of Justice’s effort to block the Quad/LSC merger and concerns from AT&T that the states’ challenge to Sprint/T-Mobile is giving those companies access to competitively sensitive information.

Lawyer in the foyer: The Tipline for 10 July 2019

GCR USA - 10 July 2019

With the amplification of its amicus programme, the Department of Justice’s antitrust division wants you to know that it is closely watching private litigation. Today we look at two cases in which the agency questions whether the defendants are actually immune from antitrust claims under US law. And while the courts are the final arbiters, the Antitrust Division’s attorneys are looking for opportunities to weigh in.

Court packing: The Tipline for 9 July 2019

GCR USA - 09 July 2019

One year ago today, President Donald Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to fill the Supreme Court chair vacated by Justice Anthony Kennedy. While not previously known for his progressive antitrust record, Justice Kavanaugh delivered a victory for a class of iPhone owners in May after finding that they qualified as direct purchasers of software sold through Apple’s App Store under Illinois Brick. In writing for the majority in the five-to-four ruling, Justice Kavanaugh said the adoption of Apple’s arguments would create a “how-to guide for the evasion of antitrust laws” by retailers. Meanwhile, the latest addition to Qualcomm’s defence team may signal that the company is ready to fight the Federal Trade Commission all the way to the highest court in the land.

Qualcomm denial: The Tipline for 8 July 2019

GCR USA - 08 July 2019

Although the rain may have dampened President Donald Trump’s Independence Day festivities in the nation’s capital last week, the US Federal Trade Commission is celebrating a win in its case against Qualcomm. A California federal judge has denied the chipmaker’s request to stay a judgment that forces the company to renegotiate its terms for licensing semiconductors.