The Obama Trials

In the Matter of McWane

09 November 2017

The FTC’s winding pursuit of an alleged monopolist I joined the FTC in 2011 excited to try antitrust cases. Soon after I arrived, I was approached by a team that was eager to litigate anticompetitive conduct they had uncovered in the ductile iron pipe fittings (DIPF) industry. Their investigation began with an allegation that McWane, the only domestic DIPF supplier, was exploiting its dominant position in order to exclude new entrants. At a time when federal stimulus money required contractors to use American-made DIPF, McWane had enacted a “full support policy” that prevented foreign manufacturers from developing a domestic source of supply. As the FTC’s investigation of McWane’s exclusive dealing policy unfolded, the team uncovered other questionable conduct that caused it to expand its investigation.