Over a sharp dissent, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that antitrust immunity under the Noerr-Pennington doctrine — which protects statements made to governmental bodies — is not forfeited even when the defendant made knowingly false statements to harm a competitor and preserve its monopoly.

As a result, the court refused to revive a Sherman Act suit brought by the would-be owners of a suburban-Pittsburgh outpatient surgery center who said their plans were thwarted when Armstrong County Memorial Hospital and 19 of its doctors set out to persuade state health officials to deny the company’s “certificate of need.”

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