Articles Posted in Antitrust & Trade Regulation

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In this battle between two domestic producers of chondroitin sulfate, Plaintiffs filed suit claiming trade-secrets violations against Defendants. Before the Supreme Court was an interlocutory appeal on a discovery issue. The district court entered a protective order requiring the redesignation of Plaintiffs’ standard operating procedures from “attorneys’ eyes only” to “confidential,” which would allow these materials to be disclosed to the defendants themselves. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that, while removing the “attorneys’ eyes only” designation may have been appropriate, the district court’s rationale for ordering redesignation was insufficient. Remanded for further consideration. View "Sioux Pharm, Inc. v. Eagle Labs., Inc." on Justia Law

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Wellmark, Inc., an Iowa-based health insurer that belongs to the national Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) network, contracted with health care providers in Iowa to provide services at certain reimbursement rates. Wellmark agreed to make those rates available both to self-insured Iowa plans that it administers and to out-of-state BCBS affiliates when those entities provide coverage for services provided in Iowa. Plaintiffs, a number of Iowa chiropractors, sued Wellmark, claiming that Wellmark had abused monopoly power in violation of the Iowa Competition Law. The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s dismissal of some of the chiropractors’ antitrust claims and remanded on Plaintiffs’ remaining claims. On remand, Plaintiffs stipulated that their remaining antitrust claims regarding the agreements between Wellmark and both the self-insuring employers and the out-of-state BCBS affiliates were being asserted on a per se theory. The district court rejected Plaintiffs’ per se theories and entered summary judgment for Wellmark. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Wellmark’s arrangements with the self-insured employers and out-of-state BCBS licensees did not amount to per se violations of Iowa antitrust law. View "Mueller v. Wellmark, Inc." on Justia Law

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In this putative class action, Plaintiffs were doctors of chiropractic who alleged they had been victimized by the discriminatory practices of Iowa's largest health insurer, Wellmark, Inc. The district court (1) granted Wellmark's motion to dismiss claims brought under Iowa's insurance regulatory statutes because no private cause of action was provided therein; (2) granted Wellmark's motion for summary judgment on Plaintiffs' antitrust claims based on the "state action" exemption found in Iowa Code 553.6(4); (3) granted summary judgment on claims alleging Wellmark breached its obligations under a judicially approved national class action settlement in Love v. Blue Cross Blue Shield Ass'n; and (4) granted summary judgment on several specific antitrust claims. The Supreme Court (1) reversed in part, holding that the district court erred in granting summary judgment on Plaintiffs' antitrust claims based on the state action exemption, as the record failed to establish the challenged conduct fell within the exemption; and (2) otherwise affirmed. Remanded. View "Mueller v. Wellmark, Inc." on Justia Law