Whole Foods, in the wake of the D.C. Circuit’s decision reinstating (in a manner of speaking) the FTC’s challenge to the Whole Foods – Wild Oats merger, has filed a most unusual lawsuit in the federal district court in the District of Columbia. Whole Foods is seeking to terminate the FTC’s administrative proceedings investigating the merger. The stated grounds are violation of the Due Process Clause and the Administrative Procedure Act (the APA).
Here is a link to the complaint (scribd.com).
This lawsuit is unusual, to say the least. The essence of Whole Foods complaint seems to be that the FTC has prejudged the case and set an unreasonably aggressive discovery schedule. I’m not aware of any grounds for this legal theory at this stage of an administrative proceeding, but I’m sure that Whole Foods’ lawyers have done their homework, and that these claims have some legal merit. Stay tuned.