On 27 January 2023, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued its unanimous (3-0) decision in FTC v. Simple Health Plans, LLC, et al., No. 21-13116. This matter stemmed from an individual defendant’s emergency motion to dissolve a preliminary injunction that a district court had issued under Sections 13(b) and 19 of the FTC Act. The district court denied the emergency motion, and the defendant appealed.
On 3 February 2023, the US Department of Justice announced the withdrawal of three antitrust policy statements that allowed certain information exchanges between competitors in healthcare markets. The day before this announcement, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Doha Mekki of DOJ Antitrust Division warned that DOJ would reconsider these outdated policy statements in light of recent changes in the healthcare industry.
In its first criminal no-poach prosecution to result in a penalty against an individual, the US Department of Justice has entered into a pretrial diversion agreement that requires the defendant to complete 180 hours of community service, refrain from any criminal activity or unlawful drug use, and surrender his passport for six months. In exchange, the defendant will not be incarcerated or face further penalties in connection with the underlying no-poach charges. While the penalties are not severe, they constitute the first time that penalties have been assessed against an individual defendant and have important implications for corporate officers, directors, managers, and HR professionals.
The Federal Trade Commission has just announced its annual adjustment to the notification thresholds that determine whether proposed transactions may trigger a filing obligation under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended, which will apply to transactions that close on or after 27 February 2023.
Employers have been keeping a close watch for rulemaking and action by the Federal Trade Commission restricting non-competes. The FTC answered the Executive Order’s call with enforcement activities and a proposed rule signaling a considerable effort to prioritize employer-employee non-compete covenants as an area for increased enforcement. In this video, our Labor & Employment, Antitrust & Competition and Trade Secrets lawyers discuss the FTC’s proposed rule and enforcement activity, what it means for employers, and what employers can do now to protect their trade secrets in light of what may be coming from the FTC.
On 10 November 2022, following a 3-1 vote, the Federal Trade Commission issued a policy statement expanding its interpretation of the scope of unfair methods of competition under section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act. Section 5 of the FTC Act prohibits “unfair methods of competition,” which covers conduct that violates antitrust laws or section 5 itself.
On 19 October 2022, the US Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division announced that seven directors had resigned from their respective corporate board positions in response to concerns of interlocking directorates. This announcement followed reports that DOJ had issued letters to numerous public companies, investors, and individuals last month. The letters reportedly indicated that DOJ was examining potential interlocks and advised the targets of the risk of potential enforcement actions. DOJ’s muscular posture toward enforcement under Section 8 of the Clayton Act is only the “first in a broader review of potentially unlawful interlocking directorates.”