The U.S. Department of Justice has agreed to limit the documents required from the University of Utah in its ongoing antitrust investigation of the U.'s medical center, says U. President Arthur K. Smith.
"This may substantially decrease the university's burden under the grand jury subpoena, although there is no guarantee that the (justice) department will not request further documents at some future date," said Smith.The limit of documentation comes in response to the university's bringing a 1990 decision by a Utah federal judge to the attention of federal investigators. According to the interpretation by Smith and his legal counsel, John Morris, the case, Pharmaceutical and Diagnostic Services Inc. vs. the University of Utah holds that immunity from antitrust investigation extends to "other university officials."
"The chief judge went on to reject the authority and reasoning of a 1985 attorney general opinion, which is the heart of the current antitrust investigation, noting that the A.G.'s opinion is not binding and fails to consider relevant legal precedent," said Smith.
Attorney General Paul Van Dam, however, maintains that the judge ruled the university - but not its staff - is immune from antitrust laws. Van Dam further contends that federal agents previously knew about the PDS decision.
So far, the investigation into possible illegal agreements between the U. Medical Center and Primary Children's Medical Center has cost taxpayers $1.5 million.