From the folks in the Washington D.C. NFIB office…
Washington, D.C., August 27, 2012 – The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Legal Center today filed an amicus brief in Federal Trade Commission v. Phoebe Putney Health System, Inc., on behalf of the petitioner. The case raises the question of whether federal antitrust laws can be invoked to challenge monopolistic conduct when the defendant is operating under a grant of general corporate power from a state hospital authority. Generally quasi-governmental entities, like the defendant in this case, are deemed exempt from antitrust laws under the “state action immunity doctrine.”
“We at NFIB are hearing more and more from small-business owners who are frustrated by taxpayer-funded government actors or quasi-governmental entities that directly compete with their businesses,” said Karen Harned, executive director of NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center. “We believe that the state action immunity doctrine should be applied only in cases where the defendant acts to advance legitimate regulatory policy, as opposed to some policy or program designed solely to benefit a public enterprise.”
NFIB’s brief, filed today with the Supreme Court of the United States, encourages the court to determine that an antitrust defendant cannot invoke state action immunity when it has become a market participant, engaged in competition with private businesses. NFIB argues that government entities should be held to the same rules and standards as private business is when competing in the market.
NFIB is the nation’s leading small-business advocacy organization, representing 350,000 small businesses around the country.
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