Levine says the issues driving the two suits are different, but related, and that could bode well for the FTC.
"The question in Phoebe Putney was 'was the enabling legislation that created the hospital authority sufficiently explicit in that it allowed the hospital authority to essentially authorize anticompetitive acquisitions?'" Levine says.
"The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals had said that the legislation authorizing the hospital authority essentially was broad enough to contemplate the anticompetitive consequences of it acting on its authority. The Supreme Court basically said that is too loose of a standard and that essentially exemptions to the antitrust laws are disfavored."
"The FTC has a very powerful argument, and the fact that the Supreme Court went out of its way in Phoebe Putney to deliver the message that exemptions are disfavored doesn't help the North Carolina Dentistry Board."