Federal Trade Comm’n v. Penn State Hershey Medical Ctr. — antitrust — reversal — Fisher
The Third Circuit today ruled that the government was entitled to a preliminary injunction blocking the proposed merger of the two largest hospitals in the Harrisburg, Pa., area. The district court had denied the injunction, ruling that the FTC had failed to properly define the relevant geographic market. The Third Circuit’s review was plenary because the lower court misapplied economic theory. On the merits, it explained:
We find three errors in the District Court’s analysis. First, by relying almost exclusively on the number of patients that enter the proposed market, the District Court’s analysis more closely aligns with a discredited economic theory, not the hypothetical monopolist test. Second, the District Court focused on the likely response of patients to a price increase, completely neglecting any mention of the likely response of insurers. Third, the District Court grounded its reasoning, in part, on the private agreements between the Hospitals and two insurers, even though these types of private contracts are not relevant to the hypothetical monopolist test.
Joining Fisher were Greenaway and Krause. Arguing counsel were William Efron for the FTC and Louis Fisher of Jones Day for the hospitals.
Early news coverage by Pennlive here and Legal Intelligencer here. My prior post on the case (quoting a former FTC general counsel saying the district court’s ruling was “appallingly bad”) is here.