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Eastern States Retail Lumber Dealers’ Association v. United States

United States Supreme Court
234 U.S. 600 (1914)


Facts

The Eastern States Retail Lumber Dealers’ Association (Lumber Association) (defendant) was a lumber trade association composed of lumber retailers. Lumber Association compiled a list of lumber wholesalers known to sell lumber directly to customers, a market that Lumber Association’s members believed to be their exclusive domain. Lumber Association distributed the list to its members, who were required to cease doing business with any of the wholesalers identified as selling directly to customers in order to protect the members’ business of selling directly to consumers. Although there was no express agreement to refrain from doing business with the listed wholesalers or any penalty for doing such business, in practice Lumber Association refused to do business with any of the wholesalers on the list. The United States (plaintiff) brought suit, alleging that Lumber Association’s list was a violation of antitrust law as a conspiracy to restrain competition. Lumber Association argued that, in order to prove a conspiracy under antitrust law, some agreement had to be shown among the alleged conspirators. The district court found that Lumber Association’s list was a conspiracy to restrain trade in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. Lumber Association appealed the decision.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Day, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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