Chris Sagers, the James A. Thomas Professor of Law, posted last week at Promarket, the blog of the Stigler Center of the University of Chicago School of Business, on a remarkable antitrust case going to trial in Rhode Island. The case, Steward Health v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, is striking not only because it survived summary judgment, and thus becomes one of the very rare private monopolization cases to go to trial. It is also because the veteran federal judge overseeing the case sent it to trial on a long, scholarly opinion critical of existing law, taking aim specifically at controversial language of the late Justice Scalia and a leading opinion of then-judge Neil Gorsuch.
As Sagers explains, it is still early for predictions, but if the case proceeds through litigation, and especially if it gets appellate review, we will at a minimum have important new guidance on the law of monopolization. We might also see reconsideration of some of the seemingly settled matters that have rendered this law largely inert, and disagreement among the federal circuits that could trigger the first Supreme Court monopolization case in many years.