United States Steel Corporation v. Fortner Enterprises, Inc.

PETITIONER: United States Steel Corporation
RESPONDENT: Fortner Enterprises, Inc.
LOCATION: Village of Arlington Heights

DOCKET NO.: 75-853
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

CITATION: 429 US 610 (1977)
ARGUED: Nov 01, 1976
DECIDED: Feb 22, 1977

ADVOCATES:
Kenneth L. Anderson - for respondent
Macdonald Flinn - for petitioners

Facts of the case

Question

Media for United States Steel Corporation v. Fortner Enterprises, Inc.

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 01, 1976 in United States Steel Corporation v. Fortner Enterprises, Inc.

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - February 22, 1977 in United States Steel Corporation v. Fortner Enterprises, Inc.

John Paul Stevens:

United States against Fortner is anti-trust case.

The respondent is a real estate developer.

He borrowed money from a subsidiary of United States Steel Corporation to finance a residential real estate development.

One of the conditions of the loan was that the respondent by pre-fabricated houses for the development from U.S. Steel.

Difficulties arose while the development was in progress and respondent filed this anti-trust suit.

In 1969, this Court held that this arrangement would violate the anti-trust laws if you U.S. Steel was exploiting economic power in the credit market in order to make house sales.

The case was remanded for a trial on the issue whether U.S. Steel had economic power over credit.

We now conclude that evidence produced at the subsequent trial failed to established the existence of the kind of economic power that plaintiff was required to prove in order to recover damages.

Instead of showing that U.S. Steel was exploiting some kind of advantage over its competitors in the credit market, the evidence showed only that it was willing to accept a lower profit in order to take greater risks making loans that its competitors.

Since the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit erroneously held that respondent had proved the existence of economic power over credit, we anonymously reversed that court's judgment.

The Chief Justice joined by Mr. Justice Rehnquist while joining the opinion of the Court, has filed a brief concurring opinion.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you, Mr. Justice Stevens.