Corporations, Securities & Antitrust Practice Group Podcast
From Martin Shkreli to the Epipen, decisions about pharmaceutical pricing and distribution have been very much in the news of late. Much of the discussion centers on whether or not it is immoral to charge high prices. The question remains, however, about whether those business practices raise antitrust concerns. Can a high price in and of itself violate antitrust laws? What about policies that limit the channels through which a particular product is distributed? Professor Michael Carrier of Rutgers Law School analyzed these questions, noting the arguments both for and against a finding of antitrust liability, as well as discussing the particular circumstances that have raised a red flag from an antitrust perspective in some of these recent cases.
- Prof. Michael A. Carrier, Distinguished Professor of Law, Rutgers Law School
Adam J. White, Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and Director of the Center for the Study of the Administrative State at George Mason University's Antonin Scalia Law School, offered his analysis of the administrative state and discussed possible legislative solutions.
SCOTUScast 9-12-17 featuring Josh Skinner
On January 9, 2017, the Supreme Court decided White v. Pauly, a petition involving a denial of qualified immunity to law enforcement officers in a civil rights dispute. In October 2011, officers Kevin Truesdale and Michael Mariscal went to the home of Daniel and Samuel Pauly to investigate a complaint made by several drivers that Daniel had been driving erratically that evening. The officers entered the Pauly property while a third officer, Ray White, remained near the highway in case Daniel returned there. Truesdale and Mariscal did not find Daniel’s truck, but they did notice lights on in one of two houses on the property. Upon approaching the building covertly they spotted two men moving around inside, and then requested that Officer White join them. When the Paulys became aware that strangers were present outside there was a verbal confrontation; according to the officers, the officers self-identified as police and threatened to enter the house if the brothers did not come out. It appears however, that neither Pauly heard the self-identification. Just as White was arriving the brothers warned that they had firearms. Upon hearing the warning, White took cover behind a stone wall fifty feet from the house. Daniel then fired two shotgun blasts out the back door and when Samuel pointed a handgun out the window in White’s direction, Mariscal fired at him but missed. Several seconds later White also fired and hit Samuel, killing him. Samuel Pauly’s estate and Daniel Pauly sued the officers under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging an excessive use of force in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The district court denied qualified immunity to the officers and a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed. The majority reasoned that, taking the plaintiffs’ version of the facts as true, a reasonable person in the position of Officers Mariscal and Truesdale should have understood that their conduct might cause the Paulys to use deadly force in defense of their home. As to Officer White, the majority concluded that while he did not participate in much of the lead up to the shootout, a reasonable officer in his position would have believed a verbal warning was required given that the stone wall afforded him secure cover.
The Supreme Court granted the officers’ petition for certiorari, vacated the judgment of the Tenth Circuit, and remanded the case. Qualified immunity attaches when an official’s conduct “does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.” On the record described by the Tenth Circuit, the Supreme Court held, Officer White did not violate clearly established law. But because the parties disputed whether White actually arrived on the scene several minutes before the shooting started and should have known that the other officers had not properly identified themselves, the Court left this potential alternative ground for affirmance--as well as whether Truesdale and Mariscal were entitled to qualified immunity in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling--for further consideration by the Tenth Circuit on remand. Justice Ginsburg issued a concurring opinion.
To discuss the case, we have Josh Skinner, Of Counsel with Fanning, Harper, Martinson, Brandt & Kutchin, P.C.