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Federal Trade Commission v. Ticor Title Insurance Co.
United States Supreme Court
504 U.S. 621 (1992)
Ticor Title Insurance Company (Ticor) (defendant) was the leading title-insurance provider in the United States. Title-insurance companies insure record titles for real estate against the risk of loss arising from defects absent in available policy or title reports. Prior to selling an insurance policy, title-insurance companies undertake a title search to examine the chain of preceding title to ascertain the condition of the title for insurance purposes. Ticor and other title-insurance companies began a practice of charging the same rates for title search and examination services. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (plaintiff) sued, alleging that the practice amounted to price fixing in violation of antitrust law. The case was heard by an administrative law judge (ALJ), and the title-insurance companies argued that their price-setting practices were authorized by state policy and thus immune from antitrust law under the state-action doctrine. In Connecticut, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Montana, the ALJ determined that the states had failed to actively supervise policies allowing title-insurance companies to fix prices for title searches and examinations. As a result, the ALJ deemed the title-insurance companies in those states to be ineligible for immunity under the state-action doctrine. The title-insurance companies appealed, and the court of appeals reversed the ALJ’s decision. The FTC appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Kennedy, J.)
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