Regulation of Business-Civil Actions Under Section 3 of the Robinson-Patman Act
In Nashville Milk Co. v. Carnation Co. plaintiff sought to recover treble damages and asked injunctive relief, claiming defendant had sold filled milk at unreasonably low prices for the purpose of destroying competition by plaintiff in its sale of a like product in violation of section 3 of the Robinson-Patman Act. In affirming an order dismissing the complaint, the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that a private action may not be maintained for a violation of section 3 of the Robinson-Patman Act. That very same week, the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit reached a contrary conclusion in Vance v. Safeway Stores. In that case the trustee in bankruptcy of an operator of a retail grocery brought an action against the defendant supermarket for treble damages and equitable relief for allegedly violating section 3 of the Robinson-Patman Act in selling certain items at unreasonably low prices with knowledge and intent to destroy competitors. In reversing the district court, the Tenth Circuit held that section 3 is an amendment to the Clayton Act for which a private action for treble damages and injunctive relief is available.