Klor's, Inc. v. Broadway-Hale Stores, Inc.

PETITIONER: Klor's, Inc.
RESPONDENT: Broadway-Hale Stores, Inc.
LOCATION: Calvert’s Tavern

DOCKET NO.: 76
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

CITATION: 359 US 207 (1959)
ARGUED: Feb 25, 1959 / Feb 26, 1959
DECIDED: Apr 06, 1959

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Klor's, Inc. v. Broadway-Hale Stores, Inc.

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - February 25, 1959 in Klor's, Inc. v. Broadway-Hale Stores, Inc.

Earl Warren:

Number 76, Klor's Incorporated, Petitioner, versus Broadway-Hale Stores Incorporated et al.

Maxwell Keith:

May it please the Court, Mr. Chief Justice.

Earl Warren:

Mr. Keith.

Maxwell Keith:

Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court.

I intend to take 20 or 25 minutes in my opening statement.

Mr. Elman from the office of the Solicitor General tends to take about half an hour and I intend to reserve five or 10 minutes for rebuttal.

Earl Warren:

You arrange your time as you please.

Maxwell Keith:

This is on a writ of certiorari to the Ninth Circuit.

The District Court below had granted the respondents here and the defendants below motion to dismiss an antitrust complaint and for summary judgment.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the entry of a judgment against the plaintiff petitioner here dismissing the complaint and for summary judgment.

The issue is whether or not the antitrust laws has a charter of economic liberty, protect the single trader from conduct prohibited under the antitrust laws.

Specifically in this case, it is whether or not the single trader is entitled to be protected from conspiracies designed to suppress and eliminate his competition.

And whether or not he is entitled to be free of the exercise of monopoly power designed to suppress and eliminate his competition.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that Section 4 of the Clayton Act which gives the private party the right to sue for anything forbidden by the antitrust laws is subject to a judicial imposition, a judicial requirement that the private trader in addition to showing personal injury as it is -- as is required by Section 4, also prove or convince -- convince the judiciary that the conduct which violates an act of Congress also has a conceivably injurious impact on the public.

The petitioner here was a retailer of household appliances, radio, television sets, washers and driers and other miscellaneous household appliances, Stoves and refrigerators.

He was located in the Mission District in San Francisco.

The Mission District in San Francisco is well known in the appliance and furniture industry as an importance feat for the retailing of these products.

San Francisco of course is a very important area of interstate trade and commerce.

It is the third or fourth largest consumer area in United States.

The respondent Broadway-Hale is a competitor -- was a competitor of petitioner Klor's Inc.

And it is specifically alleged in the complaint in paragraph 8, that the defendant Hale operates a chain of key stores in the Westcoast area of the United States.

It enjoys a monopolistic buying power by reason of the large number of retail outlets it operates.

It has used its monopolistic buying power to negotiate terms and conditions of acquisition and purchase of the products manufactured, distributed and sold by the manufacturer-distributor defendants.

The other respondents are manufacturers of household appliances.

They are large, powerful intrastate corporations.

They are well-known, I'm sure, to this Court.

They are Radio Corporation of America or RCA, General Electric Company, Admiral Corporation, Zenith Radio Corporation, Emerson Radio and Phonograph Corporation, Philco Corporation, Whirlpool Zeiger Corporation, Olympic Radio and Television Inc, Tappan Stove Company, Rheem Manufacturing Company.

These are named to the complaint along with their affiliated or wholly owned subsidiary distributors which distribute these household appliances in the San Francisco area.

Admiral -- Admiral Distributors Inc, Zenith H. R. Basford Company, Radio Corporation of America, Leo J. Meyberg Company, Emerson Jefferson Travis, Philco Government Supply Company, General Electric -- General Electric Distributing Corporation, Olympic -- Olympic Television of Northern California, Tappan, O'keefe & Merritt.

Now, this complaint alleges that these respondents conspired each with the other to suppress and eliminate the competition of Klor's petitioner in favor of Broadway-Hale.