In the FTC’s investigation and challenge of Hackensack Meridian Health’s proposed acquisition of Englewood Health, Axinn represented the two remaining independent general acute care hospitals in Bergen County, NJ: Holy Name Medical Center (“Holy Name”) and Valley Health System (“Valley”). Axinn advised Holy Name and Valley throughout the FTC’s investigation, litigation, and preliminary injunction hearing in the District of New Jersey, where the CEO of Holy Name was the FTC’s first witness. On August 4, 2021, the Court granted the FTC’s motion for a PI, putting a hold on the merger until the FTC’s administrative trial concludes.
Evidence provided by a number of competing health care providers and commercial insurers helped lead Judge Vazquez to conclude that the merger would result in a loss of price and non-price competition, harming insurers and their members. The Court also found that potential competition would not likely offset the loss in competition due to high barriers to entry and the challenges facing patients traveling to hospitals in surrounding areas, like New York City. The Court was unpersuaded by Defendants’ argument that the merger would benefit patients, which lacked ordinary course document support. On August 26, the merging parties filed a notice of appeal and a motion to expedite with the Third Circuit.
The Axinn team was led by partner Peter Herrick and assisted by associate Melanie Kiser.