U.S. Supreme Court

Supreme Court Beefs Up Docket with Business Cases

The U.S. Supreme Court added three business cases to its docket last week that were mostly overshadowed by blockbuster opinions on health care and immigration.

The cases “will offer the court more opportunities to cement its generally pro-business reputation,” the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports. The cases are:

Comcast v. Behrend. The antitrust suit filed on behalf of subscribers claims Comcast gained a dominant position in the Philadelphia area by buying rivals and swapping coverage areas. At issue is whether the case can be certified as a class action if the plaintiffs can’t make all the same claims for money damages.

Federal Trade Commission v. Phoebe Putney Health System. At issue is whether a hospital sale is exempt from antitrust scrutiny because its rival acquired the hospital through a 40-year lease deal with a local hospital authority. The FTC is challenging the deal; Phoebe Putney says state law provides antitrust immunity. The case could clarify when government bodies are exempt from antitrust scrutiny, the Wall Street Journal says. Bloomberg News and the Courthouse News Service also have coverage.

• The consolidated cases Decker v. Environmental Defense Center and Georgia Pacific-West v. Environmental Defense Center. At issue is whether timber companies have to obtain Clean Water Act permits to operate logging roads. The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled that water runoff from the roads is the same as other industrial pollution, and a permit is required, the Associated Press and Courthouse News Service report.

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