Tech giant Google faces scrutiny from state attorneys general and the federal Justice Department for potential violations related to online searches, advertising, and Android products.
In what is believed to be the first settlement of its kind in the country, Sutter Health has agreed to pay $575 million and be the subject of ongoing monitoring in a class action antitrust lawsuit. The action, which was brought by the California Attorney General, unions, and employers, alleged anti-competitive conduct by the large Northern California health system, and represented renewed interest in major health care providers using their market share to discourage competition.
Led by New York State Attorney General Letitia James, the attorneys general of eight states and the District of Columbia will investigate Facebook for possible violations of antitrust laws. The investigation arises from concerns over the dominance of Facebook in its industry, and it will examine whether Facebook may be restricting the choices available to consumers.
Last week, Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, 42 other state attorneys general, and Puerto Rico filed a lawsuit in federal court in Connecticut against 20 manufacturers of generic drugs. The lawsuit alleges that the manufacturers are engaged in an illegal price-fixing scheme, driving up the costs of generic drugs for consumers, sometimes by several thousand percent. Over 500 pages, the complaint describes in detail the historical behavior of the companies that allegedly amounts to 33 counts of anti-competitive behavior in violation of federal antitrust law.
On Monday, May 13, 2019, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in Apple, Inc. v. Pepper, 587 U.S. __ (2019). Four iPhone users sued Apple, Inc., alleging that the company monopolized the app market, which resulted in higher-than-competitive prices for apps. Apple argued that the consumer-plaintiffs were barred from suing Apple since the consumer-plaintiffs were not "direct purchasers" from Apple, as defined in Illinois Brick Co. v. Illinois, 431 U.S. 720, 745-746 (1977). The District Court agreed with Apple, while the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and concluded that the consumer-plaintiffs were direct purchasers because they purchased the apps directly from Apple.
On Monday, March 4, 2019, The New Yorker published an article online written by Jane Mayer chronicling the ties between the White House and Rupert Murdoch's Fox News. The article, titled "The Making of the Fox News White House," will be published in the print edition of the March 11, 2019 issue of The New Yorker, under the headline "Trump TV." In the article, Mayer quotes a former White House official as stating that "[t]he President does not understand the nuances of antitrust law or policy. . . [b]ut he wanted to bring down the hammer" with regards to the AT&T/Time Warner merger.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has announced a high-profile lawsuit against Sutter Health for allegedly engaging in anticompetitive conduct that has driven up health care costs for patients and employers across the state. Sutter is one of the largest health care systems in California, and one study has shown that its hospital costs are 25% higher than other providers.