Becton Dickinson & Co. (NYSE:BDX) dodged an anti-trust lawsuit brought by a Georgia hospital system after a federal judge ruled last week that the plaintiff lacked standing in the putative class action.
Southeast Georgia Health System sued BD last July, alleging that the Franklin Lakes, N.J.-based company monopolized the markets for hypodermic syringes and IV catheters. BD owns 70% of the U.S. syringe market and 65% of the IV catheter market, according to court documents.
Judge Lisa Godbey Wood of the U.S. District Court for Southern Georgia ruled Jan. 29 that the 2-hospital system lacks standing to bring the case because it does not purchase the products directly from BD, but via a group purchasing organization and a 3rd-party distributor.
“Plaintiffs thus are not direct purchasers of defendant’s products, and fail to plausibly show that any exception to the direct purchaser rule applies. As such, this case falls squarely within the ambit of that rule, such that plaintiffs are barred from pursuing their damages claims against defendants,” Godbey Wood wrote.
The judge also ruled that the plaintiff failed to state the relevant product markets and dismissed the case, according to the documents.
“A failure to delineate either the product or geographic dimension of the relevant market is fatal to an antitrust claim,” she wrote.
BD in 2013 lost a different, $114 million anti-trust case brought by Retractable Technologies (NYSE:RVP) when Texas judge ruled that BD violated the Lanham Act’s false advertising proscription. Retractable also won a $7.7 million patent infringement case against BD, which was later upheld by a federal appeals court.
Oral arguments in another BD appeal are slated to be heard Feb. 29 before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, Retractable said last week.
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