Yesterday, executives from most of America's biggest newspapers held a hush-hush meeting about the future of their dying industry. Isn't that basically, obviously, a huge violation of antitrust laws, probably? No, thanks to the
corporate freedom-supporting Supreme Court!
Slate talked to some actual antitrust lawyers about this meeting (which had an antitrust lawyer sitting in on the whole thing). Turns out that a few years ago you could have dragged the whole industry into court over this, but now, it's A-OK:
But [the lawyers] both agree that the Supreme Court's 2007 decision in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly changed the game by requiring plaintiffs to include more concrete evidence of wrongdoing in their initial pleadings. Bare-bones allegations, with speculation piled on top of inferential leap, no longer cut it, at least in federal court. "Two years ago a meeting among competitors followed by parallel price increases would have led to a class action," says Blecher. "Today, there's at least a 50/50 chance [such allegations] would not meet the Twombly requirements."
So this private meeting of top executives from the industry's largest companies that the sponsoring body, the Newspaper Association of America, would not even acknowledge happened until after it was over, where they discussed, in general, ways to get more money from consumers, was probably legal, allegedly.