Inside these posts: Justice

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Google, ITA deal approved with conditions

The Justice Department approved Google’s purchase of ticketing software company ITA Software as long as ITA’s products remain available to Google’s rivals. Get the full story »

Johnson & Johnson to pay U.S. $70M in fines

Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay $70 million to settle U.S. charges that it paid bribes and kickbacks to win business overseas, the first major pharmaceutical company to settle since the Obama administration began its scrutiny of the industry more than a year ago. Get the full story »

American Express sued by U.S. over card fees

The Justice Department sued American Express on Monday for allegedly violating antitrust law over credit card acceptance rules, and settled with Visa and MasterCard on the same issue.

The Justice Department, in a filing with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, said the case was focused on credit card companies’ efforts to stop merchants from steering customers to credit cards with lower fees imposed on the merchant.

In a proposed final judgment, Visa and MasterCard must allow merchants to offer discounts to customers who use cards that charge the stores less. Get the full story »

Bridgeport couple sued for housing discrimination

Radio personality and comedian George Willborn arriving at a press conference to talk about the discrimination suit on Aug. 26, 2010. (Heather Charles/Chicago Tribune)

The federal government filed a civil lawsuit Monday against a couple living in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood and their real estate agent, for allegedly refusing to sell their home to an African-American family.

The filing, made in U.S. District Court in Chicago, names as defendants Daniel and Adrienne Sabbia; their real estate agent, Jeffrey Lowe; and Midwest Realty Ventures, which does business as Prudential Rubloff Properties.

The lawsuit was expected. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development originally filed a federal housing discrimination complaint last month against the parties after it determined that Chicago radio personality George Willborn’s failed efforts to buy the Sabbias’ home was the result of housing discrimination. The case was moved to the Justice Department in late August. Get the full story »

United-Continental to keep Cleveland operations

United and Continental Airlines agreed on Monday to maintain a hub in Cleveland for at least five more years, as Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray ended his antitrust investigation of the mega-merger.

The announcement clears one of the last remaining roadblocks to the tie-up, which will create the world’s largest carrier. The Justice Department, which had been expected to provide the closest scrutiny of the deal, concluded its antitrust probe last month.

United and Continental shareholders will vote on Friday to formally approve the financial union of the two airlines. The deal is slated to close on Oct. 1, when Continental CEO Jeff Smisek will become chief executive of the new United. Get the full story »

Boeing subsidiary wins appeal over CIA flights

A Boeing Co. subsidiary prevailed on Wednesday against a lawsuit alleging it had helped the CIA illegally transport prisoners to secret facilities overseas, a federal appeals court has ruled.

The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco dismissed the lawsuit against Jeppesen Dataplan Inc, finding that rules protecting state secrets made it impossible for the litigation to proceed. The U.S. Department of Justice intervened in the case on behalf of Jeppesen. Get the full story »

Sources: Justice Dept. probing Google deal with ITA

The U.S. Justice Department is looking into allegations that Google Inc’s  purchase of airline ticketing firm ITA Software Inc will cost rivals access to data they need to compete with the search giant as it moves into the travel market, sources familiar with the probe said. Get the full story »

Justice Department OKs United-Continental merger

Passengers at the United and Continental kiosks at O'Hare International Airport, May 3, 2010. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

The Justice Department approved the proposed merger of United and Continental airlines Friday, closing an unexpectedly speedy four-month investigation that paves the way for the mega-deal to close by Oct. 1.

To win the blessing of federal antitrust regulators, United and Continental agreed to lease slots for 18 round-trip flights to Southwest Airlines at Newark Liberty International Airport, beginning in March 2011.

Justice officials said the slot transfer was struck in “response to the department’s principal concerns” regarding the merger, which critics have warned will speed consolidation and eventually leave the three largest U.S. carriers with a lion’s share of the market. Get the full story »

Willborn race-bias case heads to Justice Dept.

George Wilborn at the Dirksen court house this morning. (William DeShazer/Tribune)

The U.S. Justice Department is taking over the case of Chicago radio personality George Willborn, who allegedly was the victim of racial discrimination because of his family’s failed efforts to buy a home in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development filed a federal housing discrimination complaint this month against Bridgeport homeowners Daniel and Adrienne Sabbia, Prudential Rubloff Properties and real estate agent Jeffrey Lowe. HUD said they violated the Fair Housing Act when the Sabbias backed out of a verbal agreement to sell the $1.799 million home to the Willborns, who are African-American.

The matter could have been handled as an administrative case by HUD or in the federal court system by the Justice Department. The Willborns elected to transfer the matter to federal court, which means the Justice Department has, by statute, 30 days to file a case. The transfer to the federal court system means the Willborns could be eligible to receive punitive damages as well as compensatory damages from a jury. Get the full story »

U.S. launches criminal probe into Gulf oil spill

Several U.S. agencies are preparing a criminal probe of at least three companies involved in the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, though it could take more than a year before any charges are filed, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.

BP Plc, Transocean Ltd. and Halliburton Co. are the initial targets of the wide-ranging probe, which aims “to examine whether their cozy relations with federal regulators contributed to the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico,” the newspaper said, citing law enforcement and other sources. Get the full story »

Indies change stance, OK Comcast-NBC deal

Comcast Corp. and NBC Universal has reached an agreement with the  Independent Film & Television Alliance over their proposed merger, which is being reviewed by the Federal Communications Commission and  Justice Department.

The alliance reversed its opposition to the merger on the grounds it would stifle creativity in exchange for a promise that Comcast and NBC would allocate $6 million over four years to a development fund for independent productions.