DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS-SURGEONS
OF PUERTO RICO, a corporation,
FINAL ORDER AND STIPULATED PERMANENT INJUNCTION
Whereas plaintiffs Federal Trade Commission ("Commission") and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, by its attorney, José Fuentes Agostini, Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico ("PRAG"), have filed their Complaint against defendants College of Physicians-Surgeons of Puerto Rico ("College"); CentralMED, Inc.; Fajardo Group Practice, Inc.; and Norte Med, Inc., by the Commission pursuant to Section 13(b) of the Federal Trade Commission Act ("FTC Act"), 15 U.S.C. §53 (b), seeking injunctive and other equitable relief for violations of Section 5 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45; and by the PRAG under 10 L.P.R.A. §§ 257-273 to secure injunctive relief and such other relief as may be appropriate; whereas the Complaint charges defendants with concerted anticompetitive conduct in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act and in violation of 10 L.P.R.A. §§ 257-273 based on allegations of price-fixing and a concerted refusal to deal and group boycott; whereas the Commission, PRAG, and defendants have stipulated and agreed to entry by the Court, without further notice, of the following permanent injunction; whereas this Order is entered for settlement purposes only and does not constitute any evidence against or an admission of liability by the defendants; and whereas the Court being advised in the premises, finds:
1. The Commission brings this action under Sections 5 and 13(b) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 45 and 53(b). The Complaint sought permanent injunctive and other equitable relief for alleged unfair methods of competition by defendants in connection with the sale and marketing of physician services. Pursuant to Section 13(b), the Commission has authority to seek the relief it has requested.
2. The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico brings this action by their chief legal officer, the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, José Fuentes Agostini ("PRAG"). The PRAG brings this action pursuant to his parens patriae authority and pursuant to 10 L.P.R.A. §§ 257-273.
3. The Commission and PRAG allege that defendants engaged in unfair methods of competition as set forth in paragraphs 14 to 19 of the Commission's and PRAG's Complaint.
4. This Court has jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter of this action. Venue in the District of Puerto Rico is proper. The Complaint states a claim upon which relief may be granted against defendants under Sections 5 and 13 (b) of the FTC Act and 10 L.P.R.A. §§ 257-273.
5. The activities of defendants are in or affecting commerce, as defined in 15 U.S.C. § 44.
6. This is a proper case for the issuance of a permanent injunction pursuant to Section 13(b) of the FTC Act.
7. Defendants freely and without coercion waive all rights to appeal or otherwise challenge or contest the validity of the Final Order and Stipulated Permanent Injunction, and any claim under the Equal Access to Justice Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2412.
8. Defendants, without admitting the allegations set forth in the Commission's and PRAG's Complaint or that it has violated Section 5 of the FTC Act or 10 L.P.R.A. §§ 257-273, agree to entry of this Order under Section 13(b) of the FTC Act.
IT IS ORDERED that, as used in Order, the following definitions shall apply:
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that the defendant College and corporate defendants, directly or indirectly, or through any corporate or other device, in connection with the provision of physician services in or affecting commerce, as "commerce" is defined in the Federal Trade Commission Act, shall cease and desist from entering into, attempting to enter into, threatening, attempting to threaten, organizing, attempting to organize, implementing, attempting to implement, continuing, attempting to continue, facilitating, attempting to facilitate, ratifying, or attempting to ratify any combination, contract, agreement, understanding, or conspiracy, express or implied, between or among any physicians to:
PROVIDED, HOWEVER, that nothing in this Order shall prevent the corporate defendants from forming, facilitating the formation of, participating in, or negotiating contracts with any third-party payer on behalf of any qualifying integrated joint venture or a joint venture that has received the prior approval of the Commission.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that for a period of five (5) years from the date this Order is entered, defendant College shall be enjoined from:
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that nothing in this Order shall be construed to prevent defendant College or corporate defendants from exercising rights permitted under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution to petition any federal, state, or Commonwealth government executive agency or legislative body concerning legislation, rules, programs, or procedures, or to participate in any federal, state or Commonwealth administrative or judicial proceeding, or from communications reasonably necessary to develop a position or communicate with College members about positions presented to any federal, state, or Commonwealth government executive agency.
PROVIDED, FURTHER, that nothing contained in this Order shall prohibit defendant College or corporate defendants from communicating purely factual information describing the terms and conditions of any participation agreement or operations of any third-party payer or from expressing views relevant to various health plans provided that such factual information or views are not undertaken to invite, initiate, encourage, or facilitate any actual or threatened refusal to deal or any other provision of this Order.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the defendant College shall pay three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000) to the Department of Health of the Government of Puerto Rico, to be deposited in a special fund for catastrophic events, to be paid in a first installment of $150,000 within thirty days after this Order is entered and in a second installment of $150,000 within six months after the date this Order is entered.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that:
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that each party shall bear its own costs and attorneys' fees.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Court retains jurisdiction of this matter for purposes of construction, modification, and enforcement of this Order.
San Juan, Puerto Rico, this ___ day of _____ 1997.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE