Douglas C. Ross is a partner in the Seattle office of Davis Wright Tremaine, where he concentrates his practice in antitrust and litigation, and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Washington Law School, where he teaches the antitrust course and a seminar on competition in health care.
Mr. Ross is a member of the Bureau of National Affairs’ Health Law Advisory Board. Chambers USA lists him in Commercial Litigation. Best Lawyers in America named him Health Lawyer of the Year in 2011 and again in 2017, and Seattle Antitrust Lawyer of the Year in 2015. Best Lawyers also lists him in antitrust law and litigation, commercial litigation, and health care law.
Mr. Ross is a former officer of the ABA’s Antitrust Section and delegate to the ABA’s House of Delegates. He is a past chair of the Section’s Health Care Industry Committee, past chair of the Antitrust Practice Group of the American Health Lawyers Association, and past chair of WSBA’s Antitrust and Consumer Protection Committee.
Before entering private practice, Mr. Ross spent three years at the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. He received his J.D. from Columbia Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, and his B.A. from Tufts University, where he graduated summa cum laude in economics. Antitrust ExperienceMergers, Acquisitions and Affiliations
Mr. Ross represents clients in mergers, acquisitions, and affiliations in investigations by federal and state antitrust enforcement authorities. Matters have included:
- Antitrust counsel to large physician hospital association in Hawai`i developing an accountable care organization.
- Antitrust counsel to two physician-hospital organizations in Michigan developing combined accountable care organization.
- Antitrust counsel to accountable care organizations under development in Washington.
- Antitrust counsel to large physician organization in northern California developing accountable care organization/multi-provider network.
- Antitrust counsel to a large health care system investigated by the FTC for its proposed acquisition of two cardiology practices.
- Antitrust counsel to Black Press, owner of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, in an investigation conducted by the Antitrust Division and State of Hawai`i into the acquisition by Black Press of the Honolulu Advertiser. The Division and State permitted the acquisition to proceed after the failing company defense was successfully demonstrated. The two newspapers were combined into a single daily, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
- Antitrust counsel to the University of Washington in the affiliation of Northwest Hospital & Medical Center with UW Medicine and the subsequent affiliation with Valley Medical Center, Renton.
- Antitrust counsel to Providence Health & Services in its acquisition of a general acute care hospital in the Portland, Oregon area.
- Antitrust counsel to Providence Health System, Southern California, in its acquisition of a general acute care hospital from affiliates of Tenet Healthcare.
- Antitrust counsel to PeaceHealth in its acquisition of assets from Madrona Medical Group, P.S.
- Antitrust counsel to Benefis Healthcare in Great Falls, Mont., in the request for relief from the certificate of public advantage imposed at the time of the merger of its two predecessor hospitals.
- Antitrust counsel to N.T. Enloe Hospital in its acquisition of Chico Community Hospital in Chico, Calif.
- Antitrust counsel to Virginia Mason Medical Center in the sale of a majority interest in the Virginia Mason Health Plan to Group Health Cooperative.
- Antitrust counsel in Washington to BankAmerica in its acquisition of Security Pacific.
- Antitrust counsel to PayLess Drug Stores in its acquisition of Pay ‘N Save Drugstores.
- Antitrust counsel to the Sisters of Providence and General Hospital Medical Center in the merger of Providence Hospital, Everett, and General Hospital.
- Antitrust counsel to Shell Oil Company in litigation filed by the Attorney General seeking to block the sale of Shell’s western Washington operations to Texaco.
Mr. Ross has represented clients under investigation by the antitrust authorities in conduct (non-merger) matters. These investigations have included:
- Represented non-U.S. carrier in criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into alleged price fixing.
- Represented barcode seller in FTC investigation in an “invitation to collude” case. In its publicly available statement, the FTC noted in its conclusion the evidence did not support a charge that a price-fixing agreement existed, which could have resulted in a criminal referral.
- Represented game manufacturer in an investigation by a state attorney general into an alleged agreement among game companies not to hire employees from each other.
- Represented a regional health care system investigated by the FTC for allegedly dominating the provision of primary care in multiple markets.
- Represented The Seattle Times in an investigation conducted by the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice into allegations that The Times had attempted to monopolize the newspaper market in Seattle. The Division closed the investigation and issued a public closing statement explaining its action.
Mr. Ross has represented clients in antitrust litigation, frequently gaining early dismissal of an action or summary judgment on their behalf. Significant litigation has included:Witham v. Clallam County Public Hospital District No. 2
Lead counsel to public hospital district sued by oncologist who claimed the hospital monopolized the provision of oncology services by hiring its own providers. On motion to dismiss filed against the complaint, obtained dismissal of Sherman Act damage claims under Local Government Antitrust Act and of all state antitrust claims. (W.D. Wash. 2009)East Portland Imaging Center and Body Imaging v. Providence Health System and Providence Health Plan
Lead counsel for Providence Health System and its health plan in an antitrust case brought by two outpatient diagnostic imaging centers that were terminated from the plan in favor of two joint ventures formed by Providence and community radiologists. The district court granted summary judgment for Providence and the 9th Circuit affirmed. (D. Oregon 2006; 9th Cir. 2008)Woodruff v. Hawai’i Pacific Health
Obtained summary judgment for Hawai’i Pacific Health in antitrust litigation filed in state court in Honolulu by a group of pediatric oncologists who were terminated from the health system’s medical group. Plaintiffs asserted claims under the state’s antitrust laws and unfair trade practices act. Currently representing Hawai’i Pacific in similar litigation filed in federal court that includes claims under the Sherman Act and the Lanham Act. Civ. No. 02-1-0090-01 (BIA) (Cir. Ct., First Cir., Haw. 2008)Northwest Healthcare Alliance, Inc., dba Assured Home Health and Hospice v. Providence Health System – Washington
Represented Providence in an antitrust lawsuit in which a home health agency claimed Providence improperly steered referrals to its own agency. The parties settled with no payment of fees, costs or damages by Providence and no admission of liability. (King Cnty. (Wash.) Super. Ct. 2004)Schaff et al. v. Vision Service Plan
Represented Vision Service Plan in an antitrust suit brought by optometrists who had been terminated by VSP for failing to comply with VSP’s conditions and rules. After the Court entered a decision and order denying plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction, plaintiffs dismissed their complaint. (W.D. Mich. 2002)Yu v. MultiCare, Carlos Garcia, M.D., et al.
Represented the chief of staff of a MultiCare hospital in Tacoma, Wash., in an antitrust suit brought by a vascular surgeon after the hospital placed conditions on the surgeon’s admitting privileges. Mr. Ross took the lead in briefing the summary judgment motion for all defendants; summary judgment was granted. (Pierce Cnty. (Wash.) Super. Ct. 2002) Daraee, et al. v. Microsoft Corporation
Represented Microsoft Corporation in an antitrust suit defending against a class action brought by purchasers in Oregon of Windows 98. The case was dismissed in June 2000, on Microsoft’s motion to dismiss filed one month after the case was filed. (Multnomah Cnty. (Or.) Cir. Ct. 2000)Van Waters & Rogers v. Shell Chemical Co.
Represented Shell Chemical Company in an antitrust action brought by a former national distributor of Shell’s surfactants alleging that Shell engaged in tying, monopolization and exclusive dealing. Summary judgment was entered for Shell on principal claims. Plaintiff then dismissed the remainder of the action without payment or promise by Shell. (W.D. Wash. 2000)Kottle v. Northwest Kidney Centers
Represented Northwest Kidney Centers (NKC) in an action brought by a physician who sued NKC for monopolization after NKC opposed his application for a certificate of need that would have allowed him to provide competing dialysis services. The district court granted NKC’s motion to dismiss the complaint on grounds that the actions of NKC were protected from the antitrust laws by the First Amendment’s right to petition. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. 146 F.3d 1056 (9th Cir. 1998)Eureka Urethane, Inc. v. Professional Bowlers Association
Obtained summary judgment for the PBA on all claims in advance of trial. At issue was the question of whether broadcasters and sports organizations must allow professional bowlers participating in a televised sports broadcast to display advertisements on their equipment or apparel. The court ruled that the PBA and NBC could properly prohibit such displays. 746 F. Supp. 915 (E.D. Mo. 1990) aff’d, 935 F.2d 990 (8th Cir. 1991)Commercial Litigation
Mr. Ross has represented companies in complex commercial litigation for over thirty years. Significant cases he has litigated include:Washington State Hospital Association v. Department of Health
Represented the hospital association in a successful challenge to a regulation expanding the scope of the state’s certificate of need law to require that all changes in control of a hospital be approved in advance by the Department. Successfully obtained ruling from superior court that the regulation is invalid. The Washington Supreme Court affirmed in July 2015, in a unanimous decision.Northwest Kidney Centers v. Department of Health
Represented the kidney dialysis provider in challenge to the decision of the certificate of need program within the Department of Health to grant a certificate for the provision of additional dialysis services to DaVita, rather than Northwest Kidney Centers. Successfully obtained reversal of decision from administrative law judge which was affirmed on appeal to the Thurston County Superior Court. DaVita has appealed to the court of appeals.Craig Wireless Systems Ltd. v. Clearwire Legacy LLC
Represented Clearwire against claim by Canadian company that Clearwire breached a contract by failing to supply wireless equipment and that an earlier stock purchase, by which Clearwire acquired the Canadian company’s Hawaiian spectrum, should be revoked. Obtained summary judgment or dismissal of all claims asserted against Clearwire.Robertson et al. v. The Port Blakely Company
Trial counsel to family-owned tree farming business in dispute with limited partners. Successfully tried securities fraud claims to jury after obtained dismissal on summary judgment of claims seeking dissolution. (2010)Paul v. Providence Health System
Represented Providence Health System against a putative class action. Plaintiffs alleged that the theft of unencrypted backup tapes and optical discs from the car of an employee was negligent and a violation of the Oregon Unfair Trade Practices Act. Plaintiffs sought to certify the case on behalf of a class of 365,000 current and former patients whose patient information was stored on the stolen material. The court granted a motion to dismiss with prejudice and all claims were dismissed. Dismissal was affirmed by the Oregon Court of Appeals, 237 Or. App 584, 240 P3d 1110, and by the Oregon Supreme Court
, 351 Or. 587, 273 P.3d 106 (February 24, 2012).Mill v. Virginia Mason Medical Center
Lead counsel to Virginia Mason in a class action challenging the imposition of a facility fee at its downtown outpatient clinic. Following entry of summary judgment in Virginia Mason’s favor establishing such fees were lawful, the remaining claim regarding disclosure of the fees was settled. (King Cnty. Super. Ct. 2008)U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, Office for Civil Rights, In re: Providence Health & Services
Represented Providence Health & Services in federal administrative proceedings related to the theft of backup tapes. Proceedings ended in a negotiated settlement.DaVita, Inc. v. Dept. of Health and Olympic Peninsula Kidney Center
Successfully represented Olympic Peninsula Kidney Center, a dialysis provider, in a certificate-of-need dispute, from administrative hearings through the Court of Appeals process. DaVita, Inc. v. Department of Health and Olympic Peninsula Kidney Center
, 137 Wn. App. 174 (Wash. App. 2007)Hearst Communications v. Seattle Times Co.
Lead counsel to the Seattle Times Company in litigation filed by the Hearst Corporation regarding the Joint Operating Agreement under which The Seattle Times Company publishes both the Seattle Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The case resulted in a significant opinion in favor of The Times from the state Supreme Court. 154 Wn.2d 493, 115 P.3d 262 (Wash. 2005). The remaining issues were resolved by settlement.Shannon E. Moran, et al. v. Providence Health System – Washington
Represented the hospital in a class action brought claiming that the hospital charged the uninsured higher rates than it charged insured patients, failed to disclose the difference, and that its charges to the uninsured were too high. Court granted a motion to dismiss with prejudice. (D. Alaska 2007) Turner v. Legacy Health System and Block v. Providence Health System
Represented Legacy and Providence in separate class actions filed in Oregon by the same class counsel claiming hospitals charged the uninsured patients more than insured patients, failed to disclose the difference, and that their charges to the uninsured were too high. Both cases were settled on favorable terms. (Multnomah Cnty. Cir. Ct. 2007; 2006) Schaff et al. v. Vision Service Plan
Represented Vision Service Plan in an antitrust suit brought by optometrists who had been terminated by VSP for failing to comply with VSP’s conditions and rules. After the Court entered a decision and order denying plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction, plaintiffs dismissed their complaint. (W.D. Mich. 2002)Renton v. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan et al.
Represented Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, and various other Kaiser entities, in a purported class action filed on behalf of Kaiser members nationwide claiming that Kaiser breached fiduciary duties owed under ERISA by failing adequately to disclose to enrollees how physicians are compensated and how Kaiser and its physicians determined what care to provide to members. Class certification was denied. Plaintiff's counsel (the Boies Schiller firm) dismissed the complaint with prejudice thereafter. (W.D. Wash. 2001)United States ex. rel Kimberly Lum v. Vision Service Plan
Represented Vision Service Plan in a qui tam action in which a former employee claimed that VSP presented false claims in connection with providing a vision benefit to Medicaid enrollees. Summary judgment was granted in 2000 for VSP on all false claims allegations. 104 F. Supp. 2d 1237 (D. Haw. 2000)