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In re Blue Cross Blue Shield Antitrust Litig.

United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Southern Division

April 5, 2018, Decided; April 5, 2018, Filed

Master File No.: 2:13-CV-20000-RDP; (MDL NO.: 2406)

Opinion

 [*1246]  MEMORANDUMOPINION SECTION 1 STANDARD OF REVIEW AND SINGLE ENTITY DEFENSE

I. Introduction

As the Supreme Court has observed, "the 'central evil addressed by Sherman Act § 1' is the 'elimin[ation of] competition that would otherwise exist.'" Am. Needle, Inc. v. Nat'l Football League, 560 U.S. 183, 195, 130 S. Ct. 2201, 176 L. Ed. 2d 947 (2010) (quoting Areeda & Hovenkamp ¶ 1462b, at 193-194).

Currently before the court are (1) the parties' respective motions for partial summary judgment on the standard of review applicable to Plaintiffs' claims under Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1 (Docs. # 1348, 1350, 1353), and (2) Subscriber Plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment on Defendants' "single entity" defense. (Doc. # 1434).1 The motions  [*1247]  have been fully briefed. (Docs. # 1431, 1432, 1435, 1551, 1552, and 1554). And, the parties have conducted discovery that the court found necessary before deciding the appropriate standard of review for the Sherman Act claims. See In re Blue Cross Blue Shield Antitrust Litig., 26 F. Supp. 3d 1172, 1186-87 (N.D. Ala. 2014). See also Nat'l Bancard Corp. v. VISA U.S.A., Inc., 779 F.2d 592, 596 (11th Cir. 1986).

II. Relevant Undisputed Facts

The facts set out in this opinion are gleaned from the parties' submissions of facts claimed to be undisputed, their respective responses to those submissions, and the court's own examination of the evidentiary record. All reasonable doubts about the facts have been resolved in favor of the [**2]  nonmoving party. See Info. Sys. & Networks Corp. v. City of Atlanta, 281 F.3d 1220, 1224 (11th Cir. 2002). These are the "facts" for summary judgment purposes only. They may not be the actual facts that could be established through live testimony at trial. See Cox v. Admr. U.S. Steel & Carnegie Pension Fund, 17 F.3d 1386, 1400 (11th Cir. 1994). Some familiarity with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield organizations is presumed.

A. The History of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Organization

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308 F. Supp. 3d 1241 *; 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58107 **; 2018-1 Trade Cas. (CCH) P80,337; 2018 WL 1640023

IN RE: BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD ANTITRUST LITIGATION

Subsequent History: Modified by, Motion granted by In re Blue Cross Blue Shield Antitrust Litig. (MDL No. 2406), 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113563 (N.D. Ala., June 12, 2018)

Appeal denied by In re Blue Cross Blue Shield Antitrust Litig. Mdl 246, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 36905 (11th Cir. Ala., Dec. 12, 2018)

Prior History: In re Blue Cross Blue Shield Antitrust Litig., 26 F. Supp. 3d 1172, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82795 (N.D. Ala., June 18, 2014)

CORE TERMS

Plans, blue cross, Marks, licenses, blue shield, service area, provider, license agreement, trademark, brand, licensees, Sherman Act, horizontal, products, health insurance, allocations, competitors, rule of reason, best efforts, antitrust, territorial, single entity, price fixing, entities, benefits, uncoupling, prices, insurers, compete, output