On October 21, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio granted Defendants’ motion for summary judgment, holding that Premier Health Partners and its affiliate hospitals, Atrium Health Systems, Catholic Health Initiatives, MedAmerica Health Systems, Samaritan Health Partners, and Upper Valley Medical Center, operating under a joint operating agreement, constituted a single entity incapable of conspiring in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act. The Medical Center at Elizabeth Place v. Premier Health Partners, et al., Case No. 3:12-cv-26 (S.D. Ohio, Oct. 21, 2014).
As health care providers and health industry participants seek to find innovative ways to collaborate, this case is an important reminder that courts place significant emphasis on how joint venture participants function and operate rather than the corporate form of the organization. The case also highlights that the examination of conspiratorial capacity involves a highly factual inquiry where principal considerations include a parent’s or general partner’s ability to control the actions of the affiliates or members and the resultant unity of interest between the joint venture participants.
Read more about the underlying rationale of the court's decision in the following Antitrust Alert Ohio District Court Deems Hospital Alliance a Single Entity Incapable of Conspiring Under the Antitrust Laws.