Part III Administrative Complaint
The FTC challenged Laboratory Corporation of America’s $57.5 million acquisition of rival clinical laboratory testing company Westcliff Medical Laboratories, Inc., alleging that the transaction would harm competition in Southern California. The issued an administrative complaint charging that LabCorp’s acquisition of Westcliff, which was completed June 16, 2010, violates antitrust laws and would lead to higher prices and lower quality in the Southern California market for the sale of clinical laboratory testing services to physician groups. The complaint also alleges that LabCorp’s acquisition of Westcliff would leave only two significant laboratories in Southern California competing to provide critical testing services to most physician groups. LabCorp and Westcliff, along with a third competitor, Quest Diagnostics Incorporated, currently serve the vast majority of the physician groups in the region. The transaction would leave LabCorp and Quest in control of approximately 89 percent of the market, according to the FTC’s complaint. The FTC also is filing an action in federal court to prevent LabCorp from integrating the Westcliff assets while the case is being tried in the administrative court. On June 25, 2010, LabCorp agreed to hold the Westcliff assets separate and apart while the agency investigated the transaction; the FTC is seeking a federal court order requiring LabCorp to continue that separation during the administrative proceeding. On February 25, Judge Guilford denied the FTC motion for an injunction pending appeal. Staff filed an emergency motion for an injunction pending appeal with the 9th Circuit on February 23. On March 14, 2011 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Commission's appeal. On March 24, 2011 the FTC withdrew its appeal and also withdrew the matter from administrative adjudication a step that stops the trial proceedings, but does not conclude the case. On April 22, 2011 the Commission issued an order dismissing its complaint in Laboratory Corporation of America’s acquisition of Westcliff Medical Laboratories, Inc., and closing the Commission’s investigation of the matter.