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State, Federal Antitrust Enforcers Gather at NAAG/Columbia Conference
Emily Myers, Antitrust Counsel
Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Jon Leibowitz and U.S. Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Christine Varney were the keynote speakers for NAAG’s annual Antitrust seminar, which was held this year in conjunction with Columbia Law School’s State Attorney General Education Program in New York. The Oct. 7 conference, entitled “Antitrust Federalism: Enhancing the State-Federal Relationship,” was attended by approximately 140 state and federal enforcers as well as private attorneys and law students.
Attorney General Cordray, co-chair of NAAG’s Antitrust Committee, discussed the historic importance of state antitrust enforcement and provided his views on the proper balance in federal and state antitrust enforcement. Chairman Leibowitz discussed past and current joint state-federal enforcement, noting particularly the challenge by Virginia and the FTC of a hospital merger, and outlined areas for future cooperation. Assistant Attorney General Varney discussed the Antitrust Division’s new focus on agricultural markets, and how state and federal enforcers can work together to improve competition in those markets. She also described the Antitrust Division’s thinking in connection with resale price maintenance cases in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Leegin v. PSKS, 551 U.S. 877 (2007).
The keynote speeches were followed by a reactor panel moderated by Stephen Houck, executive director of the Center for State Enforcement of Antitrust and Consumer Protection Laws. Panelists included Phil Weiser, deputy attorney general for International and Appellate Matters at the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division; Pete Levitas, deputy director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition; James Donahue, chair of NAAG’s Multistate Antitrust Task Force; Ilene Knable Gotts, chair of the ABA’s Antitrust Section and Scott Hemphill, associate pofessor of Law and Milton Handler Fellow at Columbia. They discussed state and federal antitrust enforcement in a number of contexts, including single-firm conduct, vertical price fixing, agriculture and energy markets. State and federal enforcers attended a closed afternoon session to discuss the nuts and bolts of antitrust enforcement.
To view copies of the speeches, go to http://www.naag.org/1248.
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