The famed Marshfield Clinic antitrust case lives on.
Last week a federal judge decided to hold a trial next April to determine damages in the remaining antitrust claim in the case.
Following the finding of a federal appeals court, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb in Madison, Wis., entered an order last week barring the 400-physician clinic in Marshfield, Wis., and its HMO from conspiring with competing physicians and insurers to divide up products and services in the same market.
In 1994, a federal jury found the clinic guilty of such a conspiracy as well as other antitrust violations, including illegal monopolization. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago overturned most of the verdict but agreed with the jury's finding that the clinic conspired with others to divide up its market. Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case.
Consequently, Crabb issued the order enforcing the 7th Circuit's decision and scheduled a trial for next April to determine the damages in the case to be awarded to Blue Cross and Blue Shield United of Wisconsin, which originally sued the clinic in February 1994.
The Blues plan is seeking at least
$6 million in damages, which could be tripled to $18 million for a violation of federal antitrust law. The original jury verdict against the clinic in December 1994 was nearly $50 million.