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Brunswick Corp. v. Pueblo Bowl-O-Mat, Inc.

United States Supreme Court
429 U.S. 477 (1977)


Facts

Brunswick Corporation (Brunswick) (defendant) was one of the largest manufacturers of bowling equipment in the United States. After a booming decade for the bowling industry in the 1950s, the bowling industry suffered a dramatic decline in the early 1960s. To counter a decrease in sales, Brunswick began purchasing and operating insolvent bowling centers that could be maintained while returning positive cash flow. By the 1970s, Brunswick owned and maintained over five times more bowling centers than the next-largest competitor. Among Brunswick’s bowling-center acquisitions were six bowling centers in markets that had competing bowling centers maintained by Pueblo Bowl-O-Mat, Inc. (Pueblo) (plaintiff). Pueblo brought an action against Brunswick, alleging that Brunswick’s acquisitions violated § 7 of the Clayton Act, which prohibits mergers that would either substantially lessen competition or tend to establish a monopoly. Pueblo also sought treble damages under § 4 of the Clayton Act. The district court awarded damages to Pueblo. The court of appeals affirmed, finding that a properly instructed jury could have deemed the acquisitions unlawful. Brunswick appealed the decision.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Marshall, J.)

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