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6th Circuit Asked To Rehear Ohio Hospital’s Antitrust Claims

 |  August 25, 2021

Ohio-based hospital McLaren St. Luke’s on Tuesday, August 24, urged the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider a decision that said a rival medical system did not violate antitrust law when its insurance subsidiary dropped it from its provider network, reported Reuters.

Filed by its lawyers at Honigman, St. Luke’s petition seeking en banc review or panel reconsideration claims the three-judge panel’s August 10 decision overlooked key pieces of evidence showing the alleged harm stemming from the change by the insurance arm of ProMedica Health Systems.

The panel ruling vacated a preliminary injunction that kept Toledo, Ohio-based ProMedica from canceling contracts with St. Luke’s. The case involves what the Federal Trade Commission has called an “unsettled” area of antitrust law: the duty, if any, owed from one firm to a competitor.

The 6th Circuit panel said there is a high bar for such “refusal to deal” antitrust claims, since “individuals and companies may do business with whomever they please.”

In Tuesday’s petition, Honigman partner David Ettinger said the panel ruling overlooked evidence that ProMedica’s insurance subsidiary enjoyed “significant benefits” with St. Luke’s as part of the provider network. Employers were attracted to the subsidiary based on its relationship with St. Luke’s, according to the petition.

Ettinger also argued in the petition that harm to reputation and goodwill can support the issuance of a preliminary injunction.

“It is hard to imagine how any commercial party could obtain a preliminary injunction under such a restrictive approach,” Ettinger wrote in Tuesday’s court filing.

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