Case Details

Year Initiated/Committed


Year Resolved


Settlement Amount



U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Docket Number


Lead State


Participating States



Penn State Hershey Medical Center; Pinnaclehealth System

Case Description

The FTC administratively challenged the combination of Penn State Hershey Medical Center and PinnacleHealth System, alleging that the merger would substantially reduce competition for general acute care inpatient hospital services in the area surrounding Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, leading to higher costs and reduced quality. The FTC and Pennsylvania filed a motion for preliminary injunction in federal court in Pennsylvania. The court denied the motion by the FTC and Pennsylvania in an opinion filed under seal, holding that the plaintiffs did not properly define the relevant geographic market. The FTC and Pennsylvania appealed to the 3rd Circuit, which reversed the district court and granted the preliminary injunction. The Third Circuit rejected the District Court’s reasoning on all counts: market definition, the relevance and persuasiveness of the parties’ 5-year contracts with payers, whether the claimed efficiencies were cognizable and potentially sufficient to overcome the government’s prima facie case, and how the equities should be balanced in an FTC preliminary injunction proceeding. The parties abandoned the merger. The 3d Circuit denied Pennsylvania’s claim for attorneys’ fees on the grounds that the relief was granted under FTC Act Sec. 13(b), which does not authorize attorneys’ fees to prevailing parties.