FTC’s Fight to Limit State Action Antitrust Immunity Explained

April 15, 2021, 4:53 PM

The U.S. Supreme Court has punted a legal question of whether a Louisiana state agency that licenses real estate appraisers qualifies for a special immunity from antitrust enforcement that’s given to states. This is likely to embolden the FTC’s ongoing fight to scale back state action immunity.

Public agencies that conduct state actions generally can assert immunity against antitrust claims. But the question of state action immunity for quasi-public boards—such as licensing boards with private sector members—has generated split opinions in federal appeals courts.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled in October that the FTC’s refusal...

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