American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Inc. v. Hydrolevel Corporation

PETITIONER: American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Inc.
RESPONDENT: Hydrolevel Corporation
LOCATION: Furnace Woods School

DOCKET NO.: 80-1765
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

CITATION: 456 US 556 (1982)
ARGUED: Jan 13, 1982
DECIDED: May 17, 1982

Carl W. Schwarz - on behalf of the Respondent
Harold R. Tyler, Jr. - on behalf of the Petitioner
Stephen M. Shapiro - as amicus curiae

Facts of the case


Media for American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Inc. v. Hydrolevel Corporation

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 13, 1982 in American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Inc. v. Hydrolevel Corporation

Warren E. Burger:

We will hear arguments next in American Society of Mechanical Engineers against Hydrolevel Corporation.

You may proceed whenever you are ready, Mr. Tyler.

Harold R. Tyler, Jr.:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court, the petition of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, which as you know is frequently referred to in the record as ASME, submits that this case casts up in simple terms the following issue, and that is the question of on what basis can the acts of two of the society's voluntary members of this non-profit, scientific and technical society be imputed to that society for purposes of establishing liability under the Sherman Act.

Now, the panel below answered this question substantially as follows, and I am really quoting in large measure from Page 19 of the joint appendix.

The panel said, for ASME to be liable then, Hydrolevel, the plaintiff, had to demonstrate only that ASME's agents, that is, two voluntary members, acted within their apparent authority when participating in the conspiracy.

It, Hydrolevel, did not have to demonstrate that they also acted in part to benefit ASME or that ASME ratified their activities.

We contend that this holding is incorrect, and that this Court should reverse the reasoning and judgment of liability entered by the court of appeals.

Now, the facts which set the stage for this relatively simply stated issue here in this Court--

On that point, might I ask you, Mr. Tyler, whether it isn't true that the trial court instructed on quite a different standard than apparent authority?

Harold R. Tyler, Jr.:

--He certainly did, Justice O'Connor, and as a matter of fact--

You have no quarrel with the trial court's instructions or the results thereof?

Harold R. Tyler, Jr.:

--No, we don't believe that we have any purpose or right to be quarreling with Judge Weinstein's instructions.

That is correct.

And the court of appeals, however, did not review the record in terms of those instructions?

Harold R. Tyler, Jr.:

Essentially, that is correct.

What happened in the--

But you want us to.

If you ask us to reverse, we would... if we agreed with you that the court of appeals' reasoning was wrong, the basis for his decision was wrong, in order to reverse, we would have to then review the record ourselves.

Harold R. Tyler, Jr.:

--Well, I think that we would agree with that, but what we are really urging is two things.

We see two possibilities here, Justice White.

One, we concede that you, if you agree with us, could reverse and remand this case for consideration under appropriate principles of law to the court of appeals.


Harold R. Tyler, Jr.:

We would like to persuade you, however, that if you look at the record, the facts are really very simple, and not really in contest, and that on the basis of those facts--

Yes, except that the jury found against you.

Harold R. Tyler, Jr.:

--we claim that there is no--

Except that the jury found against you.

Harold R. Tyler, Jr.:

--Indeed, we have to conceded that the jury found--

And so somebody would have to say that no reasonable juror could arrive at that position on the record.

Harold R. Tyler, Jr.:

--We do contend that.

Yes, I know you do.