FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTHERN OHIO
FINAL JUDGMENT AS TO SETTLING PHYSICIAN DEFENDANTS
WHEREAS, Plaintiff, the United States of America, filed its Complaint on June 24, 2005, alleging that the settling physician Defendants Dr. Warren Metherd, Dr. Michael Karram, and Dr. James Wendel, participated in agreements in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act, and the Plaintiff and the settling physician Defendants, by their respective attorneys, have consented to the entry of this Final Judgment without trial or adjudication of any issue of fact or law, and without this Final Judgment constituting any evidence against, or any admission by the settling physician Defendants that the law has been violated as alleged in such Complaint, or that the facts alleged in such complaint, other than the jurisdictional facts, are true;
AND WHEREAS the settling physician Defendants agree to be bound by the provisions of this Final Judgment, pending its approval by this Court;
AND WHEREAS, the essence of this Final Judgment is to restore lost competition, as alleged in the Complaint, and to enjoin the settling physician Defendants from conspiring to increase fees for the provision of obstetrical and gynecological services;
AND WHEREAS, the United States requires the settling physician Defendants to agree to certain procedures and prohibitions for the purposes of preventing recurrence of the alleged violation and restoring the loss of competition alleged in the Complaint;
NOW THEREFORE, before any testimony is taken, without trial or adjudication of any issue of fact or law, and upon consent of Plaintiff and the settling physician Defendants, it is ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED:
This Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of and over the United States and the settling physician Defendants in this action. The Complaint states a claim upon which relief may be granted against the settling physician Defendants under Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1.
As used in this Final Judgment:
(A) "communicate" means to discuss, disclose, transfer, disseminate, or exchange information or opinion, formally or informally, directly or indirectly, in any manner;
(B) "competing physician" means, in relation to each settling physician Defendant, any obstetrician-gynecologist in any separate, private medical practice, other than the settling physician's own practice, in any of the following counties: Boone and Kenton in Kentucky, and Hamilton and Butler in Ohio.
(C) "messenger service" means, in relation to Defendant Federation of Physicians and Dentists or its successors, communicating to a payer any information the Federation receives from a member physician or communicating to a member physician any information the Federation receives from a payer;
(D) "payer" means any person that purchases or pays for all or part of a physician's services for itself or any other person and includes but is not limited to independent practice associations, individuals, health insurance companies, health maintenance organizations, preferred provider organizations, and employers;
(E) "payer contract" means a contract between a payer and a physician by which that physician agrees to provide physician services to persons designated by the payer;
(F) "person" means any natural person, corporation, firm, company, sole proprietorship, partnership, joint venture, association, institute, governmental unit, or other legal entity; and
(G) "settling physician Defendants" means Defendants Dr. Warren Metherd, Dr. Michael Karram, and Dr. James Wendel, who have consented to entry of this Final Judgment, and all persons acting as agents on behalf of any settling physician Defendant.
This Final Judgment applies to the settling physician Defendants and all other persons in active concert or participation with any of them who receive actual notice of this Final Judgment by personal service or otherwise.
The settling physician Defendants each are enjoined from, in any manner, directly or indirectly:
(A) encouraging, facilitating, entering into, or participating in any actual or potential agreement or understanding between or among competing physicians about any fee or other payer contract term with any payer or group of payers, including the acceptability or negotiation of any fee or other payer contract term with any payer or group of payers;
(B) encouraging, facilitating, entering into, or participating in any actual or potential agreement or understanding between or among competing physicians about the manner in which those physicians will negotiate or deal with any payer or group of payers, including participating in or terminating any payer contract;
(C) encouraging, facilitating, entering into, or participating in any actual or potential agreement or understanding between or among competing physicians about the use of any person or organization that provides any consulting, financial, legal, or negotiating services concerning any payer contract, or that in any way communicates with any payer;
(D) using Defendant Federation of Physicians and Dentists for any messenger, financial, legal, consulting, or negotiating service concerning any payer contract or contract term;
(E) communicating with any competing physician about:
(A) Subject to the prohibitions of Section IV of this Final Judgment, the settling physician Defendants:
(B) Nothing in this Final Judgment shall prohibit settling physician Defendants from
For a period of ten years following the date of entry of this Final Judgment, each settling physician Defendant shall certify to the United States annually on the anniversary date of the entry of this Final Judgment whether he and his agents have complied with the provisions of this Final Judgment.
(A) For the purposes of determining or securing compliance with this Final Judgment, or of determining whether the Final Judgment should be modified or vacated, and subject to any legally recognized privilege, from time to time, duly authorized representatives of the United States Department of Justice, including consultants and other persons retained by the United States, shall, upon the written request of a duly authorized representative of the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division and on reasonable notice to each settling physician Defendant, be permitted:
(B) Upon the written request of a duly authorized representative of the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division, each settling physician Defendant shall submit written reports, under oath if requested, relating to any matters contained in this Final Judgment as may be requested.
(C) No information or documents obtained by the means provided in this Section shall be divulged by the United States to any person other than an authorized representative of the Executive Branch of the United States, except in the course of legal proceedings to which the United States is a party (including grand jury proceedings), or for the purpose of securing compliance with this Final Judgment, or as otherwise required by law.
(D) When a settling physician Defendant furnishes information or documents to the United States, if the Defendant represents and identifies in writing the material in any such information or documents to which a claim of protection may be asserted under Rule 26(c)(7) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and marks each pertinent page of such material, "Subject to claim of protection under Rule 26(c)(7) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure," then the United States shall give the Defendant ten (10) calendar days notice prior to divulging such material in any legal proceeding (other than a grand jury proceeding) to which such Defendant is not a party.
This Court retains jurisdiction to enable any party to this Final Judgment, but no other person, to apply to this Court at any time for further orders and directions as may be necessary or appropriate to carry out or construe this Final Judgment, to modify any of its provisions, to enforce compliance, and to punish violations of its provisions.
Unless this Court grants an extension, this Final Judgment shall expire ten (10) years from the date of its entry.
Entry of this Final Judgment is in the public interest.
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
I hereby certify that on June 24, 2005, copies of the foregoing Final Judgment as to Settling Physician Defendants were served by facsimile and first-class regular U.S. mail, postage prepaid, to:
Michael E. DeFrank, Esq.
G. Jack Donson, Jr., Esq.
Jeffrey M. Johnston, Esq.
Mary Beth Fitzgibbons