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Rothery Storage & Van Co. v. Atlas Van Lines, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
792 F.2d 210 (1986)


Atlas Van Lines, Inc. (Atlas) (defendant) was a national moving company that controlled around 6 percent of the national interstate moving market. Atlas hired independent moving companies around the country as agents and allowed the companies to use its equipment, facilities, and services, and offered training programs for employees and drivers. Beginning in 1979, the moving industry was deregulated. Independent moving companies were given more opportunity to obtain interstate moving authority and to dictate their own prices instead of relying on major companies like Atlas for interstate authority and pricing. Independent companies that had been hired by Atlas as agents began cutting their prices to compete with Atlas. Agents acting independently were still using Atlas’s equipment, facilities, training, and services, and continued benefiting from Atlas’s reputation. As a result, Atlas enacted a policy that required its agents to operate their independent business under a separate corporation without using any of Atlas’s facilities or services. Atlas would terminate the agency contract of any agent that failed to comply with the policy. Rothery Storage & Van Co. joined with several other present and former agents (Rothery) (plaintiffs) to allege that Atlas’s policy constituted a group boycott and violated § 1 of the Sherman Act. Rothery also argued that the interstate moving market operated as an oligopoly and that Atlas’s policy was anticompetitive. The district court granted Atlas’s motion for summary judgment and Rothery appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Bork, J.)

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