Section 5, Collateral Consequences, and Counting Unicorns
Judge Frank Easterbrook once opined that observing predatory pricing was a bit like seeing a unicorn — in the sense that it was a phenomena around which there was much lore but not much empirical evidence. The debate over the current expansion of Section 5 liability increasingly has become about the search for a different sort of “unicorn” — follow-on actions. The conventional wisdom is that private rights of action in the US, ceteris paribus, militate in favor of less aggressive enforcement of Section 2 relative to other countries. It follows, some have argued, that an expansive view of Section 5 is appropriate because it avoids the social costs — and in particular the chilling effects on efficient behavior associated with potential antitrust liability — associated with false positives.