Virginia federal courts have shown a reluctance this past year to summarily dismiss plaintiffs' antitrust claims on Rule 12(b)(6) motions where there is no factual record. However, once a sufficient record has been established, the courts have continued their rigorous scrutiny of antitrust claims. While this year's decisions contain few victories for antitrust plaintiffs on the merits, surprisingly, their holdings are mixed and cannot be categorized as decidedly pro-plaintiff or defendant. This past year, the Fourth Circuit has limited plaintiffs' actions by broadening the sweep of the intracorporate conspiracy doctrine established in Copperweld Corp. v. Independence Tube Corp. to include sister subsidiaries of the same parent, and by refusing to expand the independent stake exception to the Copperweld doctrine. However, the same court has also broken new ground by implying that allegations of monopoly leveraging state a separate Section 2 claim. In addition, it has failed to put a damper on the proliferation of health care antitrust actions by refusing to apply the Copperweld doctrine in the context of peer review activities. Similarly, while the Supreme Court eviscerated the interstate commerce defense to medical staff privileges cases, it expanded antitrust immunity doctrines by rejecting and narrowly construing the "conspiracy" and "sham" exceptions, respectively. This article discusses these developments and the impact they may have on Virginia law.
Michael F. Urbanski,
Annual Survey of Virginia Law: Antitrust and Trade Regulation,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol25/iss4/4