EI News and Notes

Economists Ink: A Brief Analysis of Policy and Litigation

FCC Hearing on Broadband Technology

Scott J. Wallsten participated on a panel titled “The Broadband of Tomorrow,” during an FCC hearing on “Broadband and the Digital Future.” Dr. Wallsten compared broadband investment in the United States to investment in other OECD countries. The U.S. data show rapid broadband adoption and improving performance. Dr. Wallsten argued that proposed regulations should be subject to cost-benefit tests. He also suggested that the Government should collect more data on broadband. Finally, he proposed evaluating the many current programs intended to promote broadband to learn what works and what does not before considering new programs.

FLSA Class Decertified After Trial

A federal judge in New Orleans granted national retailer Big Lots’ motion to decertify a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) collective action. Approximately 1,000 opt-in plaintiffs alleged that Big Lots misclassified them as exempt from the overtime provisions of the FLSA. At trial, plaintiffs relied on a mail survey. EI President Jonathan L. Walker testified on behalf of Big Lots that the survey was statistically biased in plaintiffs’ favor yet still tended to refute the plaintiffs’ contentions when tabulated properly and taken at face value.

Jury Finds For ATP Tour, Inc. In Antitrust Suit

ATP Tour, Inc. (ATP) operates the leading international men’s professional tennis tour. The operators of a tournament in Hamburg, Germany that is part of the ATP Tour sued ATP to block ATP’s restructuring. ATP intended to reclassify the Hamburg event within the Tour as part of a broader effort to respond to market demand. The plaintiffs alleged violations of the Sherman Act. EI President Jonathan L. Walker testified that the ATP and its member tournaments operated as a single entity and that the ATP had no market power.