Chairman Nadler Statement for the Markup of H.R. 3460, the State Antitrust Enforcement Venue Act of 2021
Washington, June 23, 2021
Washington, D.C. - Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) delivered the following opening remarks, as prepared, during the markup of H.R. 3460, the State Antitrust Enforcement Venue Act of 2021:
"H.R. 3460, the 'State Antitrust Enforcement Venue Act of 2021,' ensures that state attorneys general who bring antitrust cases in federal court do not face delays or higher costs due to the transfer of such cases to a different venue.
"Congress has long recognized the essential role that states play in enforcing the antitrust laws. State attorneys general are often a crucial partner for federal antitrust enforcers. They also play an important role in independently enforcing the antitrust laws to protect consumers and competition in their states.
"Under current law, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, or JPML, which plays an important coordinating role in litigation filed across multiple districts, cannot transfer an antitrust case brought by the United States from one federal district court to another. Additionally, antitrust cases brought by the United States cannot be combined with similar litigation brought by private plaintiffs.
"That means that, in general, when the United States files an antitrust case, its choice of venue is final, and the case cannot be slowed down by having to coordinate or consolidate cases with private litigants.
"States do not enjoy these benefits. As a result, states may be forced to litigate in an inconvenient venue, even when the original venue they chose was appropriate. Additionally, states’ ability to bring timely action to protect their citizens can be delayed.
"H.R. 3460 updates this law to prevent state antitrust litigation from being transferred to another venue or consolidated with private antitrust claims by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation.
"This change ensures that states can effectively litigate antitrust cases without unnecessary delays, inefficiencies, and higher costs that occur when state antitrust cases are transferred or combined.
"Importantly, this legislation applies only to the JPML process and it does not affect the rights of defendants to seek to transfer a case to a more convenient or appropriate forum under the federal change of venue statute.
"In testimony before the Antitrust Subcommittee earlier this year, one witness explained that cost and time are the biggest obstacles to antitrust enforcement. He explained that every extra year it takes an antitrust case to get to trial is an extra year of monopoly.
"Earlier this month, the National Association of Attorneys General wrote to the Committee to express its strong support for H.R. 3460. In a letter signed by every state attorney general in the country, they urged Congress to pass this urgent legislation 'as soon as possible so that our citizens can benefit from more efficient, effective, and timely adjudication of antitrust actions.'
"I agree with the state attorneys general, including my friend, Letitia James, the Attorney General of New York, that H.R. 3460 will promote better and more timely enforcement of the antitrust laws."I thank Subcommittee Ranking Member Buck and Subcommittee Chairman Cicilline for their leadership on this issue, and I urge all Members to support this important bipartisan legislation."