New York et al. v. Deutsche Telekom AG et al., No. 1:19-cv-5434 (S.D.N.Y.)

States challenged merger of T-Mobile and Sprint, the third and fourth-largest mobile telecommunications providers in the U.S., alleging that shrinking the national wireless carrier pool down from four to three providers would decrease competition and create higher prices for consumers. The US Department of Justice and seven states entered into a settlement with the parties…

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Commonwealth v. Beth Israel Lahey Health, Inc. No. 2018-3703, Sussex Super. Ct., Mass Nov. 29, 2018)

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Lahey Health System sought to merger to form the Beth Israel Lahey Health system (BILH). After a lengthy investigation, the Massachusetts Attorney General reached a settlement that permitted the merger while imposing a seven-year price cap and $71.6 million in financial commitments to support health care services for low-income and underserved communities in Massachusetts. In an assurance of discontinuance, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, the parties agreed to a series of enforceable conditions that also require BILH to strengthen its commitment to MassHealth; engage in joint business planning with its safety net hospital affiliates, including Lawrence General Hospital, Cambridge Health Alliance, and Signature Brockton Hospital; and enhance access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment across the system, as well as requiring BILH to retain a third-party monitor to ensure compliance with the terms. The settlement resulted after a referral from the state Health Policy Commission (HPC), which asked the AG’s Office to determine whether it could negotiate terms to address potential cost increases and barriers to access to care raised by the HPC’s own review of the transaction.

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Settlement Agreement Between States and Five Guys Franchisor LLC

Fourteen states investigated “no-poach†agreements (clauses, often contained in franchise agreements, which prevent workers from switching between employers of the same franchise in order to obtain a better job with a higher salary or improved working conditions). The states settled with four national fast food franchisors, Dunkin’, Arby’s, Five Guys, and Little Caesars, who agreed to cease using “no-poach†agreements that restrict the rights of fast food workers to move from one franchise to another within the same restaurant chain. Under the terms of the settlements, the franchisors will stop including no-poach provisions in any of their franchise agreements and stop enforcing any franchise agreements already in place. The franchisors have also agreed to amend existing franchise agreements to remove no-poach provisions and to ask their franchisees to post notices in all locations to inform employees of the settlement. Finally, the franchisors will notify the attorneys general if one of their franchisees tries to restrict any employee from moving to another location under an existing no-poach provision. Since the investigation began, Wendy’s provided confirmation that it never used no-poach provisions in their contracts with franchisees. Investigations into Burger King, Popeyes, and Panera continue.

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Settlement Agreement Between States and Little Caesar Enterprises Inc.

Fourteen states investigated “no-poach†agreements (clauses, often contained in franchise agreements, which prevent workers from switching between employers of the same franchise in order to obtain a better job with a higher salary or improved working conditions). The states settled with four national fast food franchisors, Dunkin’, Arby’s, Five Guys, and Little Caesars, who agreed to cease using “no-poach†agreements that restrict the rights of fast food workers to move from one franchise to another within the same restaurant chain. Under the terms of the settlements, the franchisors will stop including no-poach provisions in any of their franchise agreements and stop enforcing any franchise agreements already in place. The franchisors have also agreed to amend existing franchise agreements to remove no-poach provisions and to ask their franchisees to post notices in all locations to inform employees of the settlement. Finally, the franchisors will notify the attorneys general if one of their franchisees tries to restrict any employee from moving to another location under an existing no-poach provision. Since the investigation began, Wendy’s provided confirmation that it never used no-poach provisions in their contracts with franchisees. Investigations into Burger King, Popeyes, and Panera continue.

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Settlement Agreement Between States and Dunkin’ Brands, Inc.

Fourteen states investigated “no-poach†agreements (clauses, often contained in franchise agreements, which prevent workers from switching between employers of the same franchise in order to obtain a better job with a higher salary or improved working conditions). The states settled with four national fast food franchisors, Dunkin’, Arby’s, Five Guys, and Little Caesars, who agreed to cease using “no-poach†agreements that restrict the rights of fast food workers to move from one franchise to another within the same restaurant chain. Under the terms of the settlements, the franchisors will stop including no-poach provisions in any of their franchise agreements and stop enforcing any franchise agreements already in place. The franchisors have also agreed to amend existing franchise agreements to remove no-poach provisions and to ask their franchisees to post notices in all locations to inform employees of the settlement. Finally, the franchisors will notify the attorneys general if one of their franchisees tries to restrict any employee from moving to another location under an existing no-poach provision. Since the investigation began, Wendy’s provided confirmation that it never used no-poach provisions in their contracts with franchisees. Investigations into Burger King, Popeyes, and Panera continue.

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Settlement Agreement Between States and Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc.

Fourteen states investigated “no-poach†agreements (clauses, often contained in franchise agreements, which prevent workers from switching between employers of the same franchise in order to obtain a better job with a higher salary or improved working conditions). The states settled with four national fast food franchisors, Dunkin’, Arby’s, Five Guys, and Little Caesars, who agreed to cease using “no-poach†agreements that restrict the rights of fast food workers to move from one franchise to another within the same restaurant chain. Under the terms of the settlements, the franchisors will stop including no-poach provisions in any of their franchise agreements and stop enforcing any franchise agreements already in place. The franchisors have also agreed to amend existing franchise agreements to remove no-poach provisions and to ask their franchisees to post notices in all locations to inform employees of the settlement. Finally, the franchisors will notify the attorneys general if one of their franchisees tries to restrict any employee from moving to another location under an existing no-poach provision. Since the investigation began, Wendy’s provided confirmation that it never used no-poach provisions in their contracts with franchisees. Investigations into Burger King, Popeyes, and Panera continue.

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In the Matter of Nantucket Ass’n of Real Estate Brokers (Assurance of Voluntary Discontinuance)

Massachusetts attorney general alleged that the membership requirements for the Nantucket Association of Real Estate Brokers, Inc. (“NAREB”) unfairly excluded competitors from the Nantucket real estate brokerage market. The AG’s Office alleged that some of the requirements for brokers, including having a physical office on the island, a community involvement requirement (which the attorney general characterized as potentially pretextual) and high initiation fees, excluded competitors from the Nantucket real estate brokerage market. The attorney general alleged that NAREB controlled a multiple listing service that lists the vast majority of real estate listings on Nantucket. Without
this listing service, to which full members of NAREB have access, a broker was effectively excluded from competing. The agreement with NAREBrequired NAREB to allow brokers without a physical office on Nantucket to join the association if certain requirements regarding showing properties are met. NAREB also reduced the initiation fee for new members from $5,000 to $500, and eliminated the community involvement requirement for membership. In addition, NAREB paid $5000 in costs of the investigation.

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State of Wisconsin et al. v. Indivior, No. 16-5073 (E.D. Pa. Sept. 22,2016)

Plaintiff states alleged that the makers of Suboxone, a drug used to treat opioid addiction, engaged in a scheme to block generic competitors and raise prices. Specifically, they are conspiring to wtich Suboxone from a tablet version to a flim in order to prevent or delay generic entry. The states allege that the manufacturers engaged in “product hopping” in which a company makes slight changes to its product to extend patent protections and prvent generic alternatives. The complaint was filed under seal.

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In the Matter of NFL Ticketing Investigation, Assurance No. 16-181(NY Attorney General Antitrust Bureau (Nov. 15, 2016)

Plaintiff states entered into a settlement agreement with the National Football League under which the NFL would discontinue its league-wide mandatory price floor (no tickets could be sold on the NFL secondary market platform for a price less than a season ticket holder’s price) and would not direct or require ticketing practices designed to preclude fans from using competing ticket exchanges.

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Connecticut et al. v. Aurobindo Pharma et al. Civ. Action No. (D.Conn. Dec. 15, 2016)

Twenty states filed a federal lawsuit against six generic drug manufacturers, alleging that they entered into long-running and well coordinated illegal conspiracies in order to unreasonably restrain trade, artificially inflate and manipulate prices and reduce competition in the United States for two drugs: doxycycline hyclate delayed release, an antibiotic, and glyburide, an oral diabetes medication. The lawsuit was filed under seal to avoid compromising a continuing investigation. In the complaint, the states allege that the misconduct was conceived and carried out by senior drug company executives and their marketing and sales executives. The complaint further alleges that the defendants routinely coordinated their schemes through direct interaction with their competitors at industry trade shows, customer conferences and other events, as well as through direct email, phone and text message communications. The states further allege that the drug companies knew that their conduct was illegal and made efforts to avoid communicating with each other in writing or, in some instances, to delete written communications after becoming aware of the investigation. The states allege the anticompetitive conduct, including price-fixing and price maintenance, market allocation and other anticompetitive acts, caused significant, harmful and continuing effects in the country’s healthcare system. The states sought an injunction to prevent the companies from engaging in illegal, anticompetitive behavior and also sought equitable relief, including disgorgement. An additional 20 states joined the complaint in March 2017.

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