7th Circ. Hospital Ruling Provides Exclusive-Dealing Lessons

By Steven Cernak (June 21, 2017, 6:22 PM EDT) -- Last fall, the dominant hospital in Peoria, Illinois, won summary judgment on the claim by its major competitor that its exclusive dealing agreements were anti-competitive. As I wrote then, the opinion provided another analysis of when such common arrangements might violate the antitrust laws. While such agreements might yield lower prices for some customers in the short run, all customers might suffer in the long run if competitors are foreclosed from the market and later leave it. When conducting the analysis, the district court looked beyond the words in the agreement and focused on how competition works in that market to determine that any foreclosure of the plaintiff was small. In a June 9, 2017, opinion by Judge Richard Posner affirming the defendant's win, the Seventh Circuit agreed, although its analysis was a little different and much shorter....

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