Friday, June 27, 2003

Antitrust News: A Win for Corrupt Due Process

An FTC administrative judge, to nobody's surprise, today upheld an FTC complaint:
In an initial decision announced today, Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) D. Michael Chappell upheld administrative complaint allegations that the February 2001 acquisition by Chicago Bridge & Iron Company N.V. (CB&I) of the Water Division and the Engineered Construction Division of Pitt-Des Moines, Inc. (PDM) violated Section 7 of the Clayton Act and Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act. Judge Chappell found that complaint counsel had established that the effect of CB&I's acquisition of the PDM assets may be to substantially lessen competition in four relevant product markets in the United States in which both CB&I and PDM competed. The order entered by Judge Chappell would require CB&I to divest all of the assets acquired in the acquisition, in order to restore competition as it existed prior to the acquisition. The Judge's initial decision is subject to review by the full Commission, either on its own motion or on appeal by either the respondents or complaint counsel.
Yes, that's right: Appeals of FTC decisions are heard by... the FTC! Is this a great country (for antitrust lawyers) or what?

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