FTC Changes Quorum Rule

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has amended its rules of practice to allow the agency to act in more matters where, due to vacancies, recusals, or a combination of the two, fewer than three commissioners can participate. On September 2, 2005, the FTC announced an amendment to the definition of "quorum." Rule 4.14(b) previously defined a quorum as a "majority of the members of the Commission." The amendment changes this definition to a majority of the members of the Commission in office and not recused from participating in the matter. Rule 4.14(c) continues to require, for the FTC to act, "the affirmative concurrence of a majority of the participating Commissioners, except where a greater majority is required by statute or rule or where the action is taken pursuant to a valid delegation of authority."

As a result of the amendment, it will be possible for two Commissioners, who agree on a particular course of action, to authorize an enforcement action. This was not possible under the prior rule because a quorum did not exist.

For additional information about this Antitrust Development, please contact Toby G. Singer, leader of the Health Care Antitrust Practice.

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