Law School Case Brief
N.M. Oncology & Hematology Consultants, Ltd. v. Presbyterian Healthcare Servs. - 54 F. Supp. 3d 1189 (D.N.M. 2014)
Section 4 of the Clayton Act provides that anyone injured in his business or property by reason of anything forbidden in the antitrust laws may bring a claim. 15 U.S.C.S. § 15. A private plaintiff seeking damages for a violation of the federal antitrust laws under § 4 of the Clayton Act must have both antitrust standing and antitrust injury. The concepts of standing and antitrust injury are related but distinct. Once antitrust injury has been demonstrated by a causal relationship between the harm and the challenged aspect of the alleged violation, standing analysis is employed to search for the most effective plaintiff from among those who have suffered loss.
NMOHC is an integrated, comprehensive cancer treatment facility that offers patients a full range of medical oncology and hematology, radiation oncology, chemotherapy infusion, and radiology and laboratory services. NMOHC filed a complaint against defendants Presbyterian Hospital and PHP, a hospital corporation and its subsidiaries, alleging various federal and state antitrust claims, claims under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO"), and state common law claims. The subsidiary PHP operated as the largest health insurer in New Mexico, and operated various health maintenance and preferred provider organizations, and other health insurance products.
Did the NMOHC have standing?
Yes as to the Clayton Act.
NMOHC had standing to assert a monopolization claim under § 4 of the Clayton Act because its status as a perceived competitor of the insurer by virtue of the insurer's affiliation with the parent hospital company was sufficient to confer antitrust standing. The court held that NMOHC alleged facts sufficient to withstand the motion to dismiss the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C.S. § 2, monoposonization claim by alleging that the insurer's bidding prices were predatory and intended to produce anticompetitive effects in the comprehensive oncology market. However, the court held that NMOHC did not have standing to bring its claim under RICO, which was premised on misrepresentations to third-party pharmaceutical companies because the direct victim was not the corporation, but the pharmaceutical companies to whom defendants made the misrepresentations.
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