COURT ISSUES SCHEDULE FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION AND SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN ANTITRUST LAWSUIT AGAINST THE BLUES SYSTEM

 

United States District Court Judge R. David Proctor has issued a schedule for class certification and summary judgment in the MultiDistrict antitrust case against the Blues System.  Under the schedule, Plaintiffs’ motions for class certification addressing the Alabama Plaintiffs and class certification expert reports are due April 15, 2019, Defendants’ oppositions to class certification and class certification experts are due July 15, 2019, and Plaintiffs’ reply brief on class certification and rebuttal expert reports are due August 30, 2019.  Plaintiffs’ damages and merits expert reports and discovery are May 15, 2019, Defendants’ damages and merits expert reports and discovery are due July 30, 2019, and Plaintiffs’ rebuttal expert reports are due August 16, 2019.  Lastly, all dispositive motions that are “not critically dependent on the outcome of class certification” are due August 30, 2019.

The MultiDistrict antitrust case was brought by providers and subscribers against the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and all of the Blue plans.   The Provider Plaintiffs allege, inter alia, that the Blues’ practice of dividing the country into exclusive service areas and fixing the reimbursement rates paid to healthcare providers violates federal antitrust law.  In an earlier decision, Judge Proctor had ruled that the market allocation scheme the Blues impose on healthcare providers, combined with their “Best Efforts” restrictions on non-Blue business, are to be analyzed under the per se standard of review.  The Eleventh Circuit had declined to hear the Blues’ interlocutory appeal of the standard of review decision, allowing the case to proceed. 

Joe Whatley and Edith Kallas of Whatley Kallas, LLP are Co-Lead Counsel for the Provider Plaintiffs.  The case, In re Blue Cross and Blue Shield Antitrust Litigation, MDL 2406, 2:13-cv-200000-RDP, is currently pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama.