Ann O'Brien

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DOJ Antitrust Division Not Backing Down on Labor

Despite back-to-back losses in the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) first-ever criminal no-poach and wage-fixing cases, the Antitrust Division (the Division) is not backing down from its enforcement focus on labor. In fact, the Division and Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter continue to proudly tout their continued aggressive stance, with Kanter recently stating that the Division … Continue Reading

Federal Court Allows Price-Fixing Class Action to Proceed Against Universities

Seventeen of U.S. News & World Report’s top 25 universities in the nation recently lost their bid to dismiss allegations of an antitrust conspiracy to suppress student financial aid awards. The ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois is notable because it held that the “568 Exemption,” on which many … Continue Reading

PGA Tour Wins First Round in Antitrust Legal Fight with Players

On August 9, 2022, a federal judge hearing the antitrust lawsuit filed by 11 professional golf players against the PGA Tour ruled against three of the players who had sought a temporary restraining order. The order, if granted, would have allowed those three players who had qualified for the PGA Tour’s playoffs to play in … Continue Reading

Is antitrust liability in the future for the PGA Tour, and beyond?

On August 3, 2022, 11 professional golfers, led by Phil Mickelson, filed an antitrust complaint in the Northern District of California against the PGA Tour for the actions it took against the golfers – including suspension from PGA Tour events – for their participation in events for the new Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series (LIV … Continue Reading

Decision Benefits Franchise Businesses and Finds Alston Bars Challenge to No-Poach Agreements

In June 2021, the Supreme Court reaffirmed in NCAA v. Alston that antitrust claims under Section 1 of the Sherman Act “presumptively” call for rule-of-reason analysis and that only the rare case merits “quick look” or per se treatment. __ U.S. __, 141 S.Ct. 2141, 2151 (2021). Recently, in Deslandes v. McDonald’s USA, LLC, Judge Jorge … Continue Reading

Baby Formula Shortage Subject of FTC Scrutiny

On May 23, 2022, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), at the prompting of President Joe Biden, announced that it will launch a civil investigation into the ongoing shortage of baby formula throughout the country. The FTC is hoping to unearth the factors that have contributed to market consolidation in light of the pressing supply chain … Continue Reading

Antitrust Division Announces Newfound Intent to Pursue Monopolization Cases Criminally

This week, during a panel discussion at the American Bar Association’s annual National Institute on White Collar Crime, Antitrust Division Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard Powers sent shockwaves through the defense bar with a surprising revelation. Speaking about the Antitrust Division’s plans for vigorous enforcement, he revealed that the Division intends to use its power to … Continue Reading

New Executive Order Targeting Noncompete Agreements Foreshadows Significant Issues for Employers

On July 9, 2021, President Biden issued a sweeping Executive Order aimed at promoting competition in the American economy. Within the Executive Order, President Biden specifically encourages the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to regulate noncompetition agreements (generally referred to as “noncompetes”). Read the full Alert.… Continue Reading

Big Day for Big Tech: CEOs Testify in House Antitrust Hearing

On Wednesday, July 29, 2020, the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust conducted its sixth hearing into online platforms and market power, welcoming as witnesses the chief executive officers of Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook. The hearing lasted more than five hours and was styled as “Examining the Dominance of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.” … Continue Reading

DOJ Takes a Stance on Section 230 Reform that Could Place Additional Burdens on Online Platforms

The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently outlined proposed reforms to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996.[1] Section 230 has been in place since the early days of the Internet and protects online platforms from liability for certain third-party posts. It has recently become a point of contention between Big Tech and the … Continue Reading

Limits of State Action Protection for Colleges and Universities

A recently filed antitrust complaint against Duke University (Duke) provides a fresh reminder for colleges and universities that the state action immunity doctrine is unlikely to be a complete shield from antitrust liability even if a public university is involved. On May 29, a professor at the University of North Carolina (UNC) filed a complaint … Continue Reading

1-800 Contacts Settles Class Action Lawsuit With Roots in FTC Action

Back in 2016, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued 1-800 Contacts, claiming the online retailer devised an anticompetitive scheme with other online lens retailers to restrict search terms.  The FTC charged that 1-800 Contacts and its competitors entered into agreements which prevented the other online contact lens retailers from bidding for search engine keywords in … Continue Reading
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