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The Antitrust Week In Review

Posted  April 4, 2023

Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.


U.S. real estate brokerages must face home sellers’ class action over commissions.  A federal judge in Chicago ruled that home sellers accusing the National Association of Realtors and a group of real estate brokerages of conspiring to inflate commission rates can move forward as a class action. U.S. District Judge Andrea Wood’s decision grants class-action status to past home sellers seeking more than $13 billion in damages and creates a separate class of current and future sellers seeking an injunction.  The plaintiffs are seven home sellers.


California, three other states join US bid to stop JetBlue-Spirit merger.  California and three other states joined the U.S. Justice Department lawsuit aimed at preventing JetBlue Airways from buying rival discount carrier Spirit Airlines for $3.8 billion. In addition to California, Maryland, New Jersey, and North Carolina signed on to the lawsuit filed in early March. “We look forward to litigating this important case alongside our state law enforcement partners to stop JetBlue from eliminating its rival, Spirit,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Doha Mekki said in a statement.


Rare criminal antitrust case results in probation, not prison.  A U.S. judge in Montana sentenced the former president of a paving and asphalt contractor to three years’ probation in what lawyers say is a rare U.S. Justice Department criminal monopoly prosecution. The defendant, Nathan Zito, pleaded guilty last year to a provision of U.S. antitrust law that makes it a felony to attempt to monopolize a market. Zito was accused of trying to convince a rival to divide up Montana and Wyoming for publicly funded crack-sealing projects on highways.


Microsoft offers to change cloud practices to ward off EU antitrust probe -source.  Microsoft Corp has offered to change its cloud computing practices to settle antitrust complaints filed by smaller rivals, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said, a move that will stave off an EU investigation. French cloud computing services provider OVHcloud, Italian cloud service provider Aruba and a Danish association of cloud service providers had complained to the European Commission about Microsoft’s cloud practices and licensing deals. The U.S. software group has put forward a concrete proposal, building on last year’s announcement by its president, Brad Smith, the person said.


Edited by Gary J. Malone