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From Antitrust Law Daily, January 12, 2015

Supreme Court declines review of state action immunity ruling

By Greg Hammond, J.D.

Trade show cleaning services vendor United National Maintenance, Inc. (UNM) was unable to obtain U.S. Supreme Court review of a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco, ruling that a lower court properly disposed of UNM’s antitrust claim against San Diego Convention Center, Inc. The Supreme Court was asked to interpret the state action immunity doctrine in the context of a private action (United National Maintenance, Inc. v. San Diego Convention Center, Inc., Dkt. 14-543).

At issue was the Ninth Circuit’s opinion, holding that San Diego Convention Center’s decision to hire cleaning staff internally was immune from UNM’s antitrust attack. The appellate court determined that the convention center acted pursuant to a clearly articulated state policy and that the active supervision requirement did not apply to its actions.

In its petition for certiorari, UNM asked whether: (1) the clear articulation test is satisfied where the California legislature authorized San Diego to create a commission that would manage the use of the convention center; and (2) whether the convention center commission was a private actor that would have to satisfy the active supervision test because its board of directors included business leaders and because it competed in the San Diego market for trade show cleaning services.

UNM contended that it was entitled to summary reversal in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in FTC v. Phoebe Putney Health System, Inc. (133 S. Ct. 1003, 2013-1 Trade Cases ¶78,269). In the alternative, UNM argued that the petition should be held in abeyance pending a decision in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC (Dkt. 13-534).

Attorneys: Leonard J. Feldman (Peterson, Wampold, Rosato, Luna, Knopf) for United National Maintenance, Inc.

Companies: United National Maintenance, Inc.; San Diego Convention Center, Inc.

MainStory: TopStory Antitrust

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