For Immediate Release
Contact: Kelly Hoffman 202-314-2054 or Kelly.Hoffman@NFIB.org
NFIB Fights for Small Business in the Supreme Court
NFIB Legal Center Director available for comment following ruling in favor of private businesses
Washington, D.C., February 19, 2013 — The Supreme Court of the United States today ruled in favor of the petitioner in Federal Trade Commission v. Phoebe Putney Health System, Inc. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Legal Center filed an amicus brief on behalf of the FTC, encouraging the court to determine that an antitrust defendant cannot invoke state action immunity when it has become a market participant, engaged in competition with private businesses.
“At NFIB we often hear from small-business owners who are frustrated by how taxpayer-funded government actors or quasi-governmental entities are held to different standards even though they are competing directly with small businesses,” said Karen Harned, executive director of NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center. “The Supreme Court’s decision today shows that government entities should be held to the same rules and criteria as a private business when they are competing in the market.”
The case raised the question of whether federal antitrust laws can be invoked to challenge monopolistic conduct when the defendant is operating under a grant of general corporate power from a state hospital authority. In the past, quasi-governmental entities, like the defendant in this case, have liberally claimed immunity from federal anti-competition laws; however, today’s decision greatly restricts application of the “state action immunity doctrine.”
Karen Harned, Executive Director of the NFIB Small Business Legal Center is available for media inquiries.
The NFIB Small Business Legal Center is a 501(c)(3) organization created to protect the rights of America's small business owners by providing advisory material on legal issues and by ensuring that the voice of small business is heard in the nation's courts. The National Federation of Independent Business is the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C. and all 50 state capitals.