The American Antitrust Institute, in cooperation with co-sponsor Antitrust and Consumer Law Section of the District of Columbia Bar, presents Susan Crawford discusses telecom competition and her book Captive Audience with Bert Foer, Allen Grunes, and Don Resnikoff
End: November 22, 2013 Friday 1:15 PM
- free event, registration is required.Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note: You are not providing your information to the D.C. Bar, but to an organizer for this program.
Professor Susan Crawford and an expert panel will discuss her book, “Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age.” The book describes an internet service market with Comcast and a handful of other cable companies each dominating large geographic regions for wired service and with AT&T and Verizon dominating wireless service. Dominant cable companies also control important content, so there is potential to throttle independent providers of television content such as movies and sports.
This teleconference is sponsored by the Antitrust and Consumer Law Section, in cosponsorship with the American Antitrust Institute.
**This program is offered in a live teleconference format.
Please note: Teleconference information will be e-mailed to registrants 24 hours prior to the event.
- Teleconference Only
Washington DC 20005
- Sections Office 202-626-3463
- Susan Crawford, Professor, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Fellow, Roosevelt Institute, co-director, Berkman Center
- Bert Foer, President and Founder, American Antitrust Institute
- Allen Grunes, Partner, Geyer Gorey LLP, Washington, DC
- Don Resnikoff, Attorney, Law Offices of Don Resnikoff, Washington, DC
- CLE Credit
- **This is a free event, see above for RSVP $0.00
Allen Grunes will speak at a conference on international trends in private antitrust enforcement that is being held in Seoul, South Korea on November 1, 2013. He will present a paper on the U.S. experience with treble damages as part of a program examining private enforcement in the EU, U.S. and China and recent developments in Korea. The program is jointly sponsored by the Korea University ICR Law Center, the Korean Competition Law Association, and the SNU Center for Competition Law. More information may be found on the ICR website.
9/18/2013 Business Week: AMR-US Airways Unions Meet U.S. Official on Merger Suit
AMR, US Airways Attack U.S. Merger Suit as Bad for Consumers
Sept. 11 (Bloomberg) — American Airlines and US Airways Group Inc. defended their proposed merger against a U.S. antitrust lawsuit, saying the combination would generate more than $500 million a year in benefits to consumers.
The combined airline will create an effective competitor to Delta Air Lines Inc. and United Continental Holdings Inc., the airlines said in filings yesterday in federal court in Washington arguing that the U.S. effort to stop the deal should be denied.
“It is the complaint — by interposing the heavy hand of federal and state regulation — which will lessen competition by precluding the market from creating new and competitive flight options for passengers,” Tempe, Arizona-based US Airways said.
The U.S. Justice Department, joined by seven states and the District of Columbia, are suing American parent AMR Corp. and US Airways to block the merger, arguing the tie-up would reduce competition and hurt consumers. U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly has scheduled the case to go to trial beginning Nov. 25.
The U.S. and the attorneys general argue the proposed merger, by reducing the number of legacy carriers from four to three, would increase the likelihood of coordinated behavior among the airlines, leading to higher fares and fees and diminished service. American and US Airways can compete effectively on their own, the government has said.
The main issue in the case is whether the merger would lead to cuts in service and increases in domestic fares, said Allen Grunes, a lawyer with GeyerGorey LLP in Washington who formerly worked in the Justice Department’s antitrust division.
“The American and U.S. Airways answers paint a picture of the merger as some kind of silver bullet that will miraculously transform the two companies into the greatest thing since sliced bread,” he said. “That’s more than a little optimistic, and it’s going to be tough for them to prove it.”
The merger, which would create the world’s largest airline, forms the basis for American’s plan to exit bankruptcy protection and pay creditors. Fort Worth, Texas-based AMR filed for bankruptcy in November 2011 and reached the merger agreement with US Airways in February.
“We believe this merger would result in consumers paying more for airfares and receiving less service,” Gina Talamona, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department’s antitrust division, said in an e-mail. “The department’s lawsuit seeks to maintain competition in the airline industry.”
American said in its court filing that the deal with US Airways would create a more competitive airline industry that would give passengers more choices.
The U.S. complaint “concocts an imaginary narrative where airlines tacitly collude and where prices are higher than in the past, but the real facts are just the opposite,” American said.
US Airways said the U.S. complaint improperly focuses on maintaining the number of legacy carriers, “those airlines that, prior to 1978, endured the well-documented failure of federal regulation of routes and fares.” Those carriers are by most relevant measures the least financially successful companies in the industry, US Airways said.
The U.S. ignores the effect on the airline industry of low- cost carriers including Southwest Airlines Co. and JetBlue Airways Corp., according to the filing. The success of those airlines is the “most meaningful competitive development” in the industry since deregulation, US Airways said.
During the past 12 years, American lost $10.3 billion and US Airways lost $3.4 billion, according to the filing by US Airways. US Airways has been in bankruptcy twice in that period.
“Blocking the merger will not sharpen competition — it will prolong this cycle of crisis to the detriment of passengers, the employees of American and US Airways, and the communities the airlines serve,” US Airways said.
The case is U.S. v. US Airways Group Inc., 13-cv-01236, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).
“If the Justice Department defines Southwest and JetBlue out of the market, they’ve got to have good documentary and economic evidence to support that allegation,” said Grunes, the former Justice Department lawyer. Baer, the U.S. antitrust chief, “would not allow it to be in the complaint otherwise.”
Southwest Seen Overlooked as U.S. Seeks to Block AMR Deal
By Mary Schlangenstein
“If you think since the 1990s, what’s been popular has always been a unilateral effects theory,” said Stucke, who is also of counsel at GeyerGorey LLP. “This is almost entirely a coordinated effects theory, [and] I think it’s very strategically well thought-out, [because the airlines] can’t really now divest a few landings. The way the complaint is described, it’s hard to see any remedies short of a full-blown injunction.”
DOJ’s Airline Merger Challenge Recalls AT&T Fight
The challenge brought by the U.S. Justice Department can be compared with its lawsuit seeking to block AT&T Inc. (T)’s proposed takeover of T-Mobile USA Inc. in 2011, said Allen Grunes, an antitrust lawyer with GeyerGorey LLP. AT&T eventually dropped its bid for T-Mobile. “My take is that the deal is dead,” Grunes said. “Based on the complaint, this merger doesn’t look like it can be fixed with divestitures or slot sales.”
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