For Your Information: September 4, 1998
The Federal Trade Commission today announced the following actions:
Applications for approval of transactions: The FTC has received an application for approval of a transaction from the following. The FTC is seeking public comments on the application for 30 days, until October 5, 1998.
- LandAmerica Financial Group, Inc., formerly known as Lawyers Title Corporation (LTC) has submitted two divestiture applications to the FTC. The divestitures are required under a consent order with the FTC that settles charges that the company's acquisition of the title insurance operations of Reliance Group Holdings, Inc., including Reliance Group's indirect subsidiaries Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company and Transnation Title Insurance Company, would reduce competition in local markets for title plant services in 11 localities in three states, and the District of Columbia. The applications submitted involve title plants in Oakland County and Wayne County, Michigan, which LandAmerica would divest to First Metropolitan Title Company in Howell, Michigan. Comments on these applications should be addressed to the FTC, Office of the Secretary, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. (See news releases dated June 5, 1998; May 27, 1998; February 24, 1998; Docket No. C-3808. Staff contact is Daniel P. Ducore, 202-326-2526.)
- Shell Oil Company and Texaco Inc. have petitioned the FTC for approval to divest 29 Shell and Texaco service stations in San Diego County, California, to New West Petroleum Inc., and to divest Texaco's interest in a petroleum storage and distribution terminal and 27 Texaco service stations on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, to U.S. Restaurant Properties, Inc. The proposed divestitures are required under the terms of a final consent order with Shell and Texaco that requires the companies to divest assets to settle FTC charges that their proposed joint venture would violate federal antitrust laws. Comments on these applications should be addressed to the FTC, Office of the Secretary, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. (See news releases dated June 11, 1998; April 22, 1998; December 19, 1997; Docket No. C-3803. Staff contact is Daniel P. Ducore, 202-326-2526.)
Consent agreements given final approval: Following a public comment period, the Commission has made final a consent agreement with the following entity. The Commission action makes the consent order binding on the respondent.
- M.D. Physicians of Southwest Louisiana, Inc. (MDP)--This final order settles FTC charges including that MDP fixed prices and other terms for dealing with third party payers in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana. The Commission vote to make the order final was 4-0. (See news release dated June 19, 1998; FTC File No. 941 0095. Staff contact is Daniel P. Ducore, 202-326-2526.)
- Copies of the FTC's 1997 Annual Report and the 20th joint FTC-Department of Justice Annual Report to Congress about the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act (HSR) are now available on the FTC's website (http://www.ftc.gov) or by calling the Consumer Response Center (202-FTC-HELP). The Commission vote on June 16, 1998, to approve the FTC's Annual Report was 3-0, with Commissioner Mozelle W. Thompson not participating (FTC File No. P882006). The Commission vote on May 29, 1998, to approve the HSR report was 4-0, with Commissioner Mozelle W. Thompson not participating (FTC File No. P110014).
Final and Proposed Rules
- On August 26, the FTC published in the Federal Register a notice outlining amendments to its Rules of Practice, which will enable the agency to comply with the Electronic Freedom of Information Act (E-FOIA) Amendments of 1996. According to the notice, "The Commission is also making other 'housekeeping' amendments to its Rules, including changes to reflect the Commission's establishment of a Consumer Response Center, which replaces the former Public Reference Branch, and the transfer of responsibility for initial Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act requests to the Office of the General Counsel." These amendments were final upon publication. In a separate notice published in the same issue of the Federal Register, the Commission announced additional proposed rule amendments for public comment to implement the E-FOIA. Comments on these proposed amendments, which concern aggregation of requests, expedited processing, and fees, are due by September 25, 1998. The Commission vote to publish the final and proposed rule amendments was 4-0. (FTC File No. P859907)
- A U.S. District Court Judge has granted a request by the Federal Trade Commission and issued a Preliminary Injunction and Asset Freeze, temporarily banning infomercial saleswoman Jacqueline Sable from promoting her "Sable Hair Farming System" or any other baldness remedy, and from misrepresenting the benefits, performance or efficacy of any product or service. Sable was one of eight telemarketers of self-help and health-related products promoted in infomercials whom the Commission charged in January 1998 with making false or unsubstantiated claims. Until a full trial can be concluded, the order issued by U. S. District Judge George W. Lindberg bars Sable from selling or assisting in the sale of any hair grower or hair loss prevention product. The order also bars her from misrepresenting material facts, including misrepresenting studies or tests; and from misrepresenting that testimonials represent the typical or ordinary experience of consumers. The Order, including the asset freeze, also apply to Sable's companies: Sable Laboratories, Inc., Contessa Cosmetics, Inc., Contessa Basile,Inc., and Perfect People Magazine, Inc. The case was filed by the FTC's Chicago Regional Office in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. (See news release dated January 13, 1998; Civil Action No.: 98 C 0170; FTC File No. X980012; Staff Contacts: Russell W. Damtoft or Theresa M. McGrew, 312- 960-5634.)
Copies of the documents referenced above are available from the FTC's web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326-3128; TTY for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.
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