Antitrust claims thoroughly vetted

vetpictureSanger Insurance Agency alleged that HUB International violated the antitrust laws to keep it from selling professional liability insurance to veterinarians. The Fifth Circuit reversed the dismissal of Sanger’s claims with two holdings. The Court first found that while Sanger was new to this business, it had done enough to establish antitrust standing, especially since Sanger alleged that the defendants’ anticompetitive activity had hurt its ability to enter the market: “[B]y pursuing a deal with a professional association of veterinarians and even achieving some success in its initial efforts, Sanger went beyond ‘the most basic preparatory steps’ that we require of nascent competitors.”  While then remanding as to other claims, the Court found Sanger’s federal antitrust claims “reverse-preempted” under the McCarran-Ferguson Act.: “Assuming that HUB is engaged in exclusive dealing that prevents the insurers from writing insurance for other group plans, that conduct fortifies the Program HUB operates through the American Veterinary Medical Association. Keeping a large, geographically and professionally diverse pool of veterinarians in the Program—including significant numbers of small- animal, large-animal, mixed, and equine veterinarians—spreads risk.”  Sanger Insurance Agency v. HUB Int’l, Inc, No. 14-40854 (Sept. 23, 2015).

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