Judge Approves Settlement Over Hospital Bed Discounts

By Catherine Fredenburgh (June 15, 2006, 12:00 AM EDT) -- Putting to rest a three-year legal dispute, a federal judge has approved a hospital bed and casket maker's agreement to pay $316 million to resolve antitrust allegations over its practice of bundling discounts for specialty hospital beds.

Hillenbrand Industries Inc. and its subsidiaries settled the class action brought by Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System after a judge in the U.S. District for the District of South Carolina granted the settlement Wednesday.

Spartanburg targeted Hillenbrand in June 2003, claiming the nation's largest manufacturer of caskets and hospital beds tried to monopolize the hospital bed market through discounts that violated federal antitrust regulations....

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