The Federal Trade Commission urged a judge to throw out a lawsuit seeking to halt its investigation into enforcement actions Alabama’s dental board has taken against SmileDirectClub, calling the board’s claims of “sweeping” antitrust immunity “unprecedented,” reported Bloomberg.
“The complaint asks this court to short-circuit the ongoing administrative process” and rule “that the ‘state action’ doctrine is not just a defense against liability, but actually entitles the board to disregard a federal investigation,” the FTC says in a court filing. “That is a baseless claim and inconsistent with long-settled law.”
Last month Alabama’s dental board sued the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), seeking to halt the agency’s investigation into whether it is violating antitrust laws by enforcing teledentistry restrictions against web-based teeth-straightening business SmileDirectClub.
The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, stems from an investigation on SmileDirectClub, which supplies 3-D printed teeth aligners without the need to visit a doctor’s office, sued Alabama’s Dental Board and its members in 2018.
The company alleges that the board, in the name of public health and safety, improperly stymied its ability to compete in order to protect traditional dentists and orthodontists’ business interests.
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