Monday, December 22, 2008

FTC Seeks Dismissal of Whole Foods' Court Challenge to Administrative Proceeding

This posting was written by Jeffrey May, Editor of CCH Trade Regulation Reporter.

The FTC has filed a motion to dismiss an action brought in the federal district court in Washington, D.C. by Whole Foods Markets, Inc., alleging that the Commission violated the specialty grocer’s due process rights.

Whole Foods filed the action on December 8, contending that the agency’s administrative proceedings involving Whole Foods’ now consummated acquisition of rival Wild Oats Markets, Inc. are improper and violate Whole Foods’ rights under the Administrative Procedure Act. (See Trade Regulation Talk, December 10, 2008.)

Whole Foods is seeking an order from the court requiring the Commission to terminate its ongoing administrative proceedings.

Exclusive Jurisdiction

According to the FTC’s December 12 filing, the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to hear the case. The agency contends that the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. has exclusive jurisdiction over the issues.

The FTC Act provides for exclusive review of administrative decisions in a federal appellate court, the agency explained. Thus, the FTC asked the court to dismiss Whole Foods’ complaint, or in the alternative, to transfer the matter to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C.

The case is Whole Foods Markets, Inc. v. FTC, Case No. 1:2008 cv 02121.

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