Venable counsel Rob Davis was quoted in Law360 and Bloomberg BNA on leadership changes at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Current FTC chair Edith Ramirez announced last week that she will step down from her post on February 10, 2017. President-Elect Donald Trump is expected to name current Commissioner Maureen K. Ohlhausen as Ramirez’s replacement. During her nearly four years chair, Ramirez’s tenure is likely to be remembered for a willingness to challenge anti-competitive mergers in court.
Speaking with Law360 in a January 13, 2017, article, Davis discussed Ramirez’s track record in going after problematic hospital mergers. After a series of wins, the FTC lost two district court cases in 2016 before winning on appeal. “The cases have gone from the agency always wins to the agency always loses back to the agency always wins,” said Davis. “It looked like there was almost an insurrection of district court judges fighting against the commission's...pretty much accepted way of doing geographic market definition in hospital mergers...and essentially those appeals put down the insurrection.”
Discussing Ramirez’s likely successor with Bloomberg BNA on January 17, 2017 Davis said Trump does not have to wait until Ramirez leaves to name Ohlhausen acting chair. Acknowledging disagreements between Ohlhausen and Ramirez, Davis noted that “enforcement actions are generally unanimous.” He added that enforcement trends will not “jerk forward too far ahead of where consensus is.”