South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Antitrust Claims by Physician Should Be Considered by Trial Court
Description Appeals court held that a trial court should not have dismissed claims of exclusive dealing and boycott brought by a physician denied the right to practice in two hospitals that obtained all their services from a group she used to work for. The trial court should consider the geographic extent of the market.
Topic Antitrust
Key Words Exclusive Dealing; Boycott; Geographic Area; Sherman Act
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Dr. Morales, an anesthesiologist, sued her former employer, a group of anesthesiologists, and directors of an anesthesiology group and two hospitals. She alleged that the exclusive dealing arrangement between the hospitals and the group prevented her from competing to offer her services. She also claimed that defendants engaged in a group boycott to exclude her from the anesthesiology group, which had the exclusive contract at the hospitals, which denied her the certification needed to practice at the hospitals. The district court dismissed her suit for failure to allege the relevant geographic market. She appealed.
Decision

Reversed. It was improper to dismiss the suit without consideration of the question of fact of what constitutes the relevant geographic area for anesthesiology services. The extent of foreclosure depends greatly on the determination of the relevant geographic market for anesthesiology services. Whether a restraint of trade is horizontal or vertical, substantial foreclosure is ordinarily required for a seller arguing that she has been unreasonably excluded from having opportunities to sell services in the market. Such cases are rarely decided against defendants, but that does not mean that all such claims are hopeless and should be resolved by dismissal of the action.

Citation Morales-Villalobos v. Garcia-Llorens, 316 F.34d 51 (1st Cir., 2003)

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