On June 15, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition issued a statement on the relationship between voluntary interviews with the agency and contractual provisions that require or limit the disclosure of information. The Bureau explains that voluntary interviews are a key aspect of investigations because they “are essential to help [them] understand real-world dynamics and effects,” and “reduce unnecessary burdens on marketplace stakeholders and Bureau staff.” In the statement, the Bureau asserts that certain contractual restrictions impede investigations, and should be considered void.
If you thought there would be no news coming out of President Biden’s Department of Justice, since his pick for Attorney General has yet to be confirmed, you would be wrong. Just over a week after Biden’s inauguration, the Acting Attorney General, Monty Wilkinson, issued interim guidance that is likely to have a major impact on criminal prosecutions, including of corporations, going forward while the new Justice Department formulates its long-term strategy.
In response to the current pandemic, antitrust enforcers at the Department of Justice have been issuing business review letters at record pace. One of these business review letters addressed an inquiry from the pork industry about reducing supply based on the COVID pandemic disruption. This raises the question as to whether the DOJ letter about antitrust has any application to increases in price and price gouging statutes.
As businesses across the globe grapple with the changing realities presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. and international antitrust enforcers have warned that business should continue to mind the antitrust laws. Global enforcers are also focusing on the role competition laws play as industries – both essential and hard-hit – grapple with the new environment.
In February 2020, at the 13th International Cartel Workshop, Deputy Assistant Attorney General (DAAG) Powers provided some insight as to the DOJ’s current views about the Antitrust Division’s Leniency Program. The headline: no major changes; but there are a few interesting takeaways, which we offer below.
The D.C. Circuit recently blocked a proposed merger between two of the nation’s three largest health care insurers – Anthem and Cigna, raising doubts about the viability of the efficiencies defense in merger cases despite such a defense having been explicitly recognized in the 2010 FTC and DOJ Horizontal Merger…
President Andrew Jackson is reported (likely inaccurately) to have flaunted a Supreme Court decision by retorting, “John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!” Any litigant who has been on the receiving end of an unwanted court order may find this sentiment a familiar one. As a federal judge in Arizona recently reminded Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, however, refusal to comply with a court order in a civil lawsuit can be criminal. Neither Presidents nor Sheriffs are above the law when it comes to complying with a civil order, and other civil litigants would do well to remember the consequences of such disobedience.