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California Dental Association v. Federal Trade Commission

United States Supreme Court
526 U.S. 756 (1999)


California Dental Association (CDA) (defendant) is a nonprofit association of local dentist societies to which about three-fourths of the state’s dentists belong. CDA members agree to abide by a code of ethics prohibiting, among other things, the engagement of false or misleading advertising. The CDA issued advisory opinions and guidelines to assist dentist-members in ensuring that they were not engaging in false advertising. In an administrative proceeding, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (plaintiff) held that the CDA had restricted truthful, non-deceptive advertising related to prices and quality of dental services in violation of § 5 of the FTC Act. The court of appeals affirmed the FTC’s decision and concluded that an abbreviated or “quick look” rule of reason analysis was appropriate. The CDA appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Souter, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Breyer, J.)

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