NFIB Files Supreme Court Brief in Antitrust Case

Author: Cynthia Magnuson Date: August 27, 2012
For Immediate Release
Contact:  Cynthia Magnuson 202-314-2036 or 

Washington, D.C., August 27, 2012 – The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Legal Center today filed an amicus brief in Federal Trade Commission v. Phoebe Putney Health System, Inc., on behalf of the petitioner. The case raises 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. Generally quasi-governmental entities, like the defendant in this case, are deemed exempt from antitrust laws under the “state action immunity doctrine.”

“We at NFIB are hearing more and more from small-business owners who are frustrated by taxpayer-funded government actors or quasi-governmental entities that directly compete with their businesses,” said Karen Harned, executive director of NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center. “We believe that the state action immunity doctrine should be applied only in cases where the defendant acts to advance legitimate regulatory policy, as opposed to some policy or program designed solely to benefit a public enterprise.”

NFIB’s brief, filed today with the Supreme Court of the United States, encourages 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. NFIB argues that government entities should be held to the same rules and standards as private business is when competing in the market.

NFIB is the nation’s leading small-business advocacy organization, representing 350,000 small businesses around the country.


NFIB is the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C., and all 50 state capitals. Founded in 1943 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, NFIB gives small and independent business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business. NFIB’s powerful network of grassroots activists send their views directly to state and federal lawmakers through our unique member-only ballot, thus playing a critical role in supporting America’s free enterprise system. NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses. More information is available online at

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