The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
U.S. antitrust enforcer says merger wave means slower vetting. A huge increase in the number of mergers coming before the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for antitrust reviews is limiting its ability to investigate deals in a timely fashion, the FTC said on Tuesday. The agency, which works with the Justice Department to enforce antitrust law, said it got 343 deal notifications in July alone, up from 112 last July. It said in a statement that the influx “is straining the agency’s capacity to rigorously investigate deals ahead of the statutory deadlines.” The agency said it was sending letters to some companies planning transactions that although its waiting period would soon expire, the FTC probe was not complete.
En banc 9th Circuit takes up certification of classes with uninjured plaintiffs. The en banc 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals intends to clarify whether the federal rules for class action litigation preclude the certification of class actions in which more than a minimal number of class members could turn out not to have suffered an injury. Chief Judge Sidney Thomas said in an order on Tuesday that the circuit’s judges had voted to rehear a controversial class decertification decision from a divided three-judge panel in a case alleging price-fixing in the market for packaged tuna fish. Tuesday’s order in Olean Wholesale Grocery Cooperative Inc v. Bumble Bee Foods LLC vacated the panel’s decision from last April, in which the majority held that trial judges may not certify classes that contain more than a minimal number of uninjured class members.
Plaintiffs press full 2nd Circuit to revisit bond-rigging ruling. A team of lawyers representing investors has urged the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York to reconsider a panel decision that upheld the dismissal of antitrust claims against a slew of big banks accused of participating in a conspiracy to rig prices in the government agency bond market. The lawyers asked the 2nd Circuit for en banc review or, alternatively, panel rehearing, saying the panel decision could broadly harm private antitrust enforcement if left in place. They are challenging the panel’s unanimous ruling that said their “extremely wide net” made it implausible that all the bank entities, including Citigroup Inc and Credit Suisse AG, and traders participated in a seven-year conspiracy.
Edited by Gary J. Malone