The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
Spirit Airlines Is on Shaky Footing After Judge Blocks JetBlue Deal. Spirit Airlines, once a fast-growing low-cost carrier, is struggling to convince investors that it has a clear path forward after an antitrust ruling blocked the sale of the company to JetBlue Airways. A federal judge in Boston blocked the proposed merger, concurring with the Justice Department that the deal would hurt consumers by reducing their choices and raising fares. The airlines announced that they had jointly filed a notice of appeal.
US states flex new power to steer antitrust lawsuits. A federal court ruling in Arkansas shows U.S. states’ heightened ability to control the battleground for antitrust lawsuits, invoking a federal law that creates new headaches for corporate defendants. U.S. District Judge Brian Miller in Little Rock granted Arkansas’ bid to keep a year-old antitrust lawsuit against pesticide makers Syngenta and Corteva in the state, overruling objections from the companies that it should be transferred to a court in North Carolina that is already overseeing similar unfair pricing claims against them. Miller’s ruling is among the first to cite a year-old federal law, the State Antitrust Enforcement Venue Act of 2022. The law says antitrust actions brought by state attorneys general are exempt from being transferred into coordinated legal proceedings, raising the stakes for corporate defendants that could be forced to fight related lawsuits in multiple courts.
US Justice Dept, more states join lawsuit over NCAA athlete transfers. The U.S. Justice Department and several more states have joined a lawsuit challenging restrictions that the National Collegiate Athletic Association places on some students’ eligibility to play competitive sports when they transfer to a new school. The U.S. government and the new state plaintiffs will participate in the case with Ohio and a group of other states, including New York, Illinois and North Carolina, that originally filed the lawsuit in December in federal court in West Virginia. A judge there in December barred the NCAA, the governing body for college athletics, from enforcing its rule during the duration of the lawsuit.
Edited by Gary J. Malone