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Bruce D. Sokler

Member / Chair, Antitrust Practice

BDSokler@mintz.com

+1.202.434.7303

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Bruce is a prominent antitrust attorney who is accomplished at the full range of antitrust matters: litigation and class actions, government merger reviews and investigations, and cartel-related issues. Although the health care, communications, and retail industries are a particular focus for Bruce, he represents companies in many other sectors. His client roster ranges from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies to nonprofit organizations. Bruce served as Managing Member of the firm’s Washington, DC office for 12 years and on the firm’s Executive Committee for 13 years.

Bruce is Chair of the Antitrust Section. He applies his extensive experience, understanding of clients' business, and judgment developed over decades in private practice to a broad range of antitrust matters, including government merger reviews and investigations and antitrust litigation. Chambers USA reports that he "is practical, very smart, and recognizes that you have to make business decisions."

In the antitrust area, Bruce’s practice includes antitrust counseling and representation in connection with federal and state governmental matters, including merger review, HSR second requests, and cartel matters, as well as private antitrust litigation, including class actions. He counsels and has represented Fortune 100 companies, not-for-profits, start-up entities, trade associations, and domestic and international joint ventures. Bruce has been involved in antitrust matters spanning a broad range of industries, but has particularly deep experience in the health care, communications, and retail industries. For example, Chambers USA attests that “he is one of those guys who understands the healthcare competition aspects very well.”

Bruce served as the Managing Member for the firm’s Washington, DC office from 1989 to 2001, and served on the firm’s Executive Committee from 1989 to 2002. He has been annually recognized by Best Lawyers in America, Super Lawyers, and Chambers USA for Antitrust: Washington, DC.

During law school, he served as editor-in-chief of the Georgetown Law Journal. Following his graduation from Georgetown, Bruce served as law clerk to Judge Edward Allen Tamm of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Education

  • Georgetown University (JD)
  • Princeton University (BA)

Experience

  • Represent New York Stock Exchange Company a defendant major electronic component manufacturer in class action cartel antitrust litigation.
  • Represented one of the nation’s leading Academic Medical Center and affiliated networks in antitrust matters including merger reviews and in parallel DOJ Antitrust Division and State Attorney General investigations.
  • Represented one of the nation’s premier pharmacy chains in its $27 billion acquisition of a “big three” pharmacy benefits manager.
  • Represented a market leading producer and distributor of environmentally-safe household products in its acquisition by another transnational consumer goods company.
  • Represented a cable company in the first successful FTC clearance of the acquisition of an overbuilt cable system.
  • Served as antitrust counsel for a hospital in its merger with another medical center.
  • Represented major cable television providers and major programming networks in connection with a high-profile merger proceeding before the Department of Justice and state attorneys general.
  • Served as lead counsel for an American telecom company in a purported nationwide antitrust class action. The suit alleged that the cable operator’s practice of leasing set-top boxes to customers who also purchase cable television services constitutes an illegal antitrust tie.
  • Represented an American retail and pharmacy chain in an antitrust class action alleging unfair restriction for participation in a Rhode Island pharmacy network. We obtained summary judgment for the defendants, which was affirmed on appeal.
  • Represented the regional council for a construction trade union in connection with a lawsuit brought by other trade unions alleging that provisions in the defendant’s collective bargaining agreements governing subcontracting of work within the defendant’s claimed trade jurisdiction result in an illegal restraint of trade in violation of the Sherman Act.
  • Served as lead counsel for a major telecommunications carrier in multidistrict litigation involving 20 separate antitrust class action suits that were consolidated into a single MDL. The suits alleged that the cable industry’s practice of leasing set-top boxes to customers who also purchase cable television services constitutes an illegal tying arrangement under the antitrust laws.
  • Represent one of the nation's most prestigious health care providers and hospital groups, since its creation over 20 years ago, to help it make smooth and efficient acquisitions and respond effectively to government investigations.

Recognition & Awards

  • Chambers USA: District of Columbia – Antitrust (2012 – 2019)
  • Washington DC Super Lawyers: Antitrust Litigation (2012 – 2019)
  • Best Lawyers in America: Antitrust Law (2012 – 2020)
  • Nightingale’s Healthcare News: Outstanding Healthcare Antitrust Lawyer (2007 – 2009)
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent

Involvement

  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, District of Columbia Bar Association
  • Member, Federal Communications Bar Association
  • Member, National Health Lawyers Association

Viewpoints

Viewpoint General

Investment Fund to Pay More Than $600,000 for Inadvertent Violation of HSR Act

August 29, 2019 | Alert | By Bruce Sokler, Farrah Short

Read about Third Point and three funds’ agreement to pay $609,810 to settle HSR Act antitrust allegations related to their delayed reporting of securities acquired due to the merger of third parties.
Viewpoint General

Canon and Toshiba Pay $5 Million for HSR Avoidance Scheme

June 13, 2019 | Alert | By Bruce Sokler, Farrah Short

Read about Canon Inc. and Toshiba Corporation’s agreement to pay $2.5 million each to settle DOJ antitrust allegations associated with a $6.1 billion transaction.
Viewpoint

Physician Affiliation Price Fixing Case Settled for $2.5 Million

May 31, 2019 | Alert | By Bruce Sokler, Farrah Short

This alert discusses State of Washington v. Franciscan Health System, outlines its proposed settlement, and reviews the important takeaways for health care provider affiliations.
Viewpoint

Another Shoe Drops in the Qualcomm Patent Licensing Saga

May 24, 2019 | Blog | By Michael Renaud, Bruce Sokler, Rich Gervase, Harold Laidlaw

Just when observers thought Qualcomm could celebrate its successful litigation with Apple another decision has come down which could have major implications for Qualcomm’s business going forward.
Viewpoint General
Read about the Sixth Circuit's rejection of a hospital plaintiff’s per se antitrust claim against a dominant competitor in The Medical Center at Elizabeth Place, LLC v. Atrium Health System.

FTC Alleges Surescripts Illegally Monopolized E-Prescription Market

April 29, 2019 | Alert | By Bruce Sokler, Evelyn French

Viewpoint
Bruce Sokler discusses the consent decree that resolved the Department of Justice’s attack against Atrium Health in which the DOJ challenged Atrium’s use of anti-steering provisions in their contracts with insurers.
Viewpoint General

Antitrust Claims Against Sutter Health Move Forward in Consolidated State Actions

March 20, 2019 | Alert | By Bruce Sokler, Farrah Short

This alert from the Mintz health care antitrust team outlines the reasoning behind a California court’s March 14, 2019 decision against Sutter Health — a case involving claims of alleged price tampering and combination to monopolize.
Viewpoint General
This antitrust alert highlights two filings made by the DOJ last week in cases pending in federal district courts in North Carolina and Washington.
Viewpoint General

2019 HSR Notification Thresholds Announced

February 19, 2019 | Alert | By Bruce Sokler, Robert Kidwell, Farrah Short

Read about the FTC’s new “size of transaction” and “size of person” thresholds requiring reporting under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976.

News & Press

Antitrust Case against BCBS to Continue under Per Se Standard

February 1, 2019 | The Licensing Journal

In this article, authors Bruce Sokler and Farrah Short discuss a long-running anti-trust case, the Eleventh Circuit recently denied defendant Blue Cross Blue Shield’s interlocutory appeal of the district court’s ruling that certain allegedly restrictive practices of defendants must be analyzed under the per se standard rather than the more lenient rule of reason standard.

Mintz partner and Massachusetts lawyer Julie Korostoff is one of 49 attorneys recognized as “Leaders in Their Fields” by the 2018 Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business guide. Chambers named Korostoff a “Recognized Practitioner” in Technology.
Mintz is pleased to announce that eight attorneys have been named Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers for 2018 and three others have been named Washington, D.C. Rising Stars. The annual publication identifies lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.
Mintz is proud to be recognized by JD Supra in its 2018 Reader’s Choice awards. The annual program highlights the most widely read authors and articles throughout the past year. Five Mintz attorneys were named JD Supra Top Authors in four different industries.
Bruce Sokler, the Chair of Mintz’s Antitrust practice, was quoted in Law360’s article on a February 26th Supreme Court case regarding a dispute over anti-steering provisions in American Express merchant agreements.

Hospital Consolidation

December 4, 2017 | Managed Care Magazine

Bruce Sokler is the Chair of Mintz’s Antitrust practice is quoted in this Managed Care Magazine article on the subject of the sway the Federal Trade Commission holds in matters such as health system and hospital mergers.
Washington D.C. Member Bruce Sokler, Chair of Mintz’s Antitrust practice, is quoted in this Law360 article covering the AmEx anti-steering provisions case which the U.S. Supreme Court will take up. The article notes the unique role of the Supreme Court in the matter.
Chair of Mintz’s Antitrust section Bruce Sokler, along with Member Rob Kidwell and attorneys, Farrah Short Shawn Skolky collaborated on an article regarding the Washington state attorney general’s office suit against the expansion efforts of Franciscan Health System.  
Best Lawyers named 85 Mintz attorneys to its 2018 list of The Best Lawyers in America. In addition, Mintz attorneys Matthew J. Gardella and Samuel M. Tony Starr were named “Lawyer of the Year” in their respective practice areas.
Bruce Sokler, the Chair of Mintz’s Antitrust practice, is quoted in this Law360 article discussing the Supreme Court case involving American Express Co.’s merchant anti-steering rules.
The 2017 Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business guide ha recognized 49 Mintz attorneys as “Leaders in Their Fields.” Practice highlights include top rankings for banking and finance.
Eight Mintz attorneys have been named Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers for 2017 and four have been named Washington, D.C. Rising Stars. The list will be published in a special advertising supplement in The Washington Post Magazine and in a stand-alone magazine, Washington D.C. Super Lawyers Magazine.
Member and leader of the firm’s Antitrust practice Bruce Sokler is among those providing insight in this piece discussing strife between the Federal Trade Commission and a proposed hospital merger, to be known as Ballad Health.
JD Supra has recognized Mintz in its 2017 Reader’s Choice awards, highlighting the most widely read authors and articles over the past year. Eleven Mintz attorneys were named JD Supra Top Authors in four industries and Mintz was recognized as the Top Firm with readers in the Energy Industry.

Emboldened, the FTC Seems Ready to Fight More Mergers

November 21, 2016 | http://www.managedcaremag.com/archives/2016/11/emboldened-ftc-seems-ready-fight-more-mergers Managed Care Magazine

Bruce Sokler, the Chair of Mintz’s Antitrust Practice, was quoted in a Managed Care Magazine article discussing how a court ruling to block a merger between two Pennsylvania health systems could lead to stronger resistance from and greater success for the FTC in future health care system mergers.

Chicago Hospital Case Could Hinge on Efficiency Argument

November 3, 2016 | Bloomberg BNA Antitrust & Trade Regulation Resource Center

Bruce Sokler, the Chair of Mintz’s Antitrust Practice, is quoted in a Bloomberg BNA Antitrust & Trade Regulation Resource Center article on the ongoing antitrust case against Advocate Health Care and NorthShore University Health System.
Mintz attorneys represented Seventh Generation, Inc. in its recent sale to Unilever. Based in Vermont, Seventh Generation is a pioneer in corporate responsibility and sustainable product innovations, including plant-based detergents and household cleaners.

FTC wins appeal to halt Penn State Hershey/PinnacleHealth merger

September 28, 2016 | http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20160927/NEWS/160929899/breaking-ftc-wins-appeal-to-halt-penn-state-hershey-merger-with Modern Healthcare

Bruce Sokler, the Chair of Mintz’s Antitrust Practice, is quoted in a Modern Healthcare article discussing the Federal Trade Commission’s win in its appeal to stall the Penn State Hershey merger with PinnacleHealth.  
Bruce Sokler, the Chair of Mintz’s Antitrust Practice, is quoted in this Bloomberg BNA article covering delays in a hospital merger resulting from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s court win.
Chair of Mintz’s Antitrust Practice Bruce Sokler is quoted in this Law360 article covering the difficulties the U.S. Department of Justice may face moving forward with its antitrust case against Carolinas HealthCare System.
Six Mintz Members will speak at the 2016 International Bar Association Conference. The Members are Robert I. Bodian, Richard R. Kelly, Heidi A. Lawson, Bruce D. Sokler, Stephen M. Weiner, and Laura Bange Stephens.
Best Lawyers named 73 Mintz attorneys to its 2017 list of The Best Lawyers in America. Mintz attorneys selected for inclusion in this year’s list span 44 practice areas. 
Mintz Members Bruce Sokler and Robert Kidwell, and Special Counsel Farrah Short, authored this Law360 column about the war being waged between businesses that accept payment cards and payment card fees and protective network rules.
Chair of Mintz’s Antitrust Practice Bruce Sokler is quoted in this FTC Watch article on the FTC's loss in their attempt to block two Chicago-area hospitals from merging. The federal judge found their “approach to defining geographic markets ‘flawed’.”  
Bruce Sokler, Chair of Mintz’s Antitrust Practice, is quoted in a Law360 story on the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust suit against Carolinas HealthCare System.
Firm’s National Healthcare Practice, NY Corporate/M&A and Litigation: General Commercial Among Newest Rankings
Chair of Mintz’s Antitrust Practice Bruce Sokler is quoted in this Law360 article on steps deal makers who enter business transactions can take to better brace themselves for antitrust review.
Bruce Sokler, Chair of Mintz’s Antitrust Practice, is quoted in The Street in a discussion of the Halliburton-Baker Hughes deal, which would involve the second and third largest companies in the oilfield services industry merging.
Mintz’s Antitrust Practice Chair Bruce Sokler is quoted in this Financial Times article discussing Halliburton’s plan to purchase Baker Hughes. The piece notes the Department of Justice hopes to block the deal through an antitrust lawsuit.
Chair of Mintz’s Antitrust Practice Bruce Sokler and Farrah Short, Antitrust Special Counsel, authored this Law360 column on a legal battle between two rodeo associations.
The 2015 Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business guide names 52 Mintz, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.  attorneys as “Leaders in Their Fields.”
Seven Mintz attorneys have been named Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers for 2015 and five have been named Washington, D.C. Rising Stars. The list will be published in a special advertising supplement in Washington Post Magazine and in a stand-alone Washington D.C. Super Lawyers Magazine.

Events

Speaker
May
17
2018

Antitrust in Healthcare

American Bar Association and American Health Lawyers Association

The Ritz-Carlton Arlington, VA

Speaker
Speaker