Quest Diagnostics’ Antitrust Win Affirmed on Appeal

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By Eleanor Tyler

Quest Diagnostics Inc. beat back a lawsuit alleging it monopolized the Northern California market for medical diagnostic testing after a federal appeals court agreed the complaint lacks merit.

The suit is likely over. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in a Feb. 12 unpublished opinion, affirmed a lower court’s ruling that the plaintiffs showed no facts to support their case. To revive their claims, they would have to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit the case, an extremely high bar.

The plaintiffs paid copayments and deductibles on lab work done at Quest. They alleged that Quest monopolized two markets by paying kickbacks to doctors, colluding with two major private health insurers, and acquiring competing labs to eliminate them as competitors. They also alleged that Quest illegally tied products together in its fee structure.

The trial judge dismissed the suit with prejudice in April 2016, saying the plaintiffs failed on three attempts to plead a believable monopolization claim against Quest.

Ninth Circuit Judges Sidney Thomas, William Fletcher, and Richard Paez agreed. They said the plaintiffs didn’t provide facts to support any of their three theories for how Quest restricted patients from using other diagnostic labs.

The case is Eastman v. Quest Diagnostics Inc. , 2018 BL 47376, 9th Cir., 16-15793, 2/12/18

To contact the reporter on this story: Eleanor Tyler in Washington at etyler@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Fawn Johnson at fjohnson@bloomberglaw.com

For More Information

The court's opinion is at http://src.bna.com/wn8.

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