Antitrust Laws – Concerted Refusals to Deal – Public Injury

Petitioner, Klor’s, Inc., a retail electrical appliance store, brought a treble damage action against Broadway-Hale, a department store chain, and against ten appliance manufacturers, alleging conspiracy to restrain and monopolize commerce in violation of sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act. The complaint charged essentially that Broadway-Hale, which operated a store next door to Klor’s, had been able by virtue of its great buying power to induce a concerted refusal to deal on the part of major appliance manufacturers, so that they would sell to Klor’s only on highly unfavorable terms if at all. Respondents submitted affidavits which showed that hundreds of appliance dealers flourished in the area in which Klor’s was located, dealing in the branded merchandise which Klor’s could not obtain from respondent manufacturers. The district court granted respondents’ motion for summary judgment, holding that no public injury was present, and describing the controversy as a “purely private quarrel.” The· Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed. On certiorari to the United States Supreme Court, held, reversed and remanded for trial. Since group boycotts are within that class of restraints which from their very nature and character are unduly restrictive, Congress has determined its own criteria of public injury as to them. Thus petitioner has stated a cause of action. Klor’s, Inc. v. Broadway-Hale Stores, Inc., 359 U.S. 207 (1959).