EI News and Notes

Defense Verdict in Multi-Billion Dollar Antitrust Jury Trial

A jury in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania reached a defense verdict regarding allegations that egg producers conspired to elevate egg prices by restricting supply. The plaintiffs were twelve of the nation’s largest grocers including Kroger, Safeway, Publix and Supervalu. These grocers had opted out of an earlier class action which the egg producers also won. The opt-out plaintiffs had sought approximately $1 billion in damages before trebling while the class plaintiffs sought approximately $3 billion before trebling. EI President Jonathan L. Walker was the defendants’ expert liability witness in both the opt-out and earlier class action proceedings.

Two Recent FERC Decisions

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) recently approved Entergy Mississippi’s proposed purchase of the Choctaw Generating Station. EI Principal John R. Morris testified that the Commission’s default geographic market of MISO South was too small and that market concentration was low in the proper geographic market. Steptoe & Johnson LLP represented Entergy Mississippi before FERC.

FERC also recently affirmed its decision to remove horizontal market power mitigation conditions stemming from Louisiana Gas & Electric’s merger with Kentucky Utilities in 1998. EI Principal John R. Morris provided affidavits demonstrating that the mitigation was no longer necessary because the affected customers have many good alternatives to receiving supplies from the utilities. Troutman Sanders LLP represented LG&E/KU.

Jéssica Dutra Presents at the Kansas Law Review Symposium

EI Senior Economist Jéssica Dutra presented Paradigm Shifts on Merger Efficiencies in Antitrust Analysis at the Kansas Law Review Symposium, themed “Antitrust Law and Policy in the 21st Century.” Dr. Dutra also presented her paper Common Ownership of Hospitals and the Price of Medical Care, co-authored by José Azar, Donna Ginther, and David Slusky, at the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management Conference and her paper Antitrust Analysis with Upward Pricing Pressure and Cost Efficiencies, a joint work with Tarun Sabarwal, at the Southern Economic Association conference in Fort Lauderdale.