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Harlem River Consumers Cooperative, Inc. v. Associated Grocers of Harlem, Inc.

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York

February 7, 1974

No. 70 Civ. 4128

Opinion

 [*703]  Memorandum Opinion and Order

PIERCE, D.J.:

The history of the struggle for survival waged by Harlem Consumers Cooperative, Inc. (the Co-op) is not unknown, and has not gone unheeded in this court. A few years after its founding in 1967 as a consumer-owned, community-based, cooperative supermarket, it sought and  [*704]  won a preliminary injunction in its antitrust action against forces hostile to it within Harlem grocery trade circles. Thereafter, some of the principals in the civil action were convicted of criminal charges relating, in part, to the episode which precipitated the injunction. At least two of those defendants are presently in bankruptcy proceedings, also in this court.

Now, with the antitrust action well into preparation for jury trial on the merits, the Co-op seeks once again a temporary surcease to problems which threaten to overwhelm it. But, this chapter of the Co-op's story serves to demonstrate that there are limits to the kinds of problems capable of resolution by a court of law or equity, however worthy the Co-op's unique goals may be.

The Co-op's present motion, made under the umbrella of the antitrust [**2]  action, is one for further preliminary injunctive relief. In the main, it charges that certain defendants and a non-defendant have combined to deny the Co-op access to national brand food products which are essential to the conduct of its business. After seventeen court-days of testimony and the receipt of hundreds of exhibits into evidence, the plaintiff Co-op rested its direct case on December 27, 1973, and this Court took under advisement defendants' application to dismiss the plaintiff's motion for failure of proof.

During the hearing, every reasonable opportunity to support its allegations was extended to the plaintiff. The plaintiff subpoenaed and ranged freely through the non-defendant's records. Evidence and testimony, immaterial on the surface, was admitted subject to connection. And well into the hearing, at the Court's urging, defendants agreed to limit and defer full cross-examination of plaintiff's witnesses to expedite the presentation of the Co-op's direct case.

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371 F. Supp. 701 *; 1974 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12355 **; 1974-1 Trade Cas. (CCH) P74,922

Harlem River Consumers Cooperative, Inc., Plaintiff, v. Associated Grocers of Harlem, Inc., et al., Defendants

CORE TERMS

Food, scratched, products, injunction, conspiracy, delivery, supplier, competitors, manufacturer, customers, brand, non-defendant, supermarket, anti trust law, allegations, wholesaler, supplies, Retail, antitrust, merits, injunctive relief, defendants', proceedings, documents, enjoined, inferred, weekly, contempt, charges, cases

Civil Procedure, Remedies, Injunctions, Preliminary & Temporary Injunctions, Securities Law, Self-Regulating Entities, National Securities Exchanges, New York Stock Exchange, General Overview, Antitrust & Trade Law, Robinson-Patman Act, Claims, Monopolies & Monopolization, Attempts to Monopolize, Regulated Practices, Price Fixing & Restraints of Trade, Sherman Act, Scope, Defenses, Business & Corporate Compliance, Types of Commercial Transactions, Sales of Goods, Clayton Act, Price Discrimination, Defenses, Criminal Law & Procedure, Inchoate Crimes, Conspiracy, Elements, Conspiracy to Monopolize, Sherman Act, Judgments, Relief From Judgments, Independent Actions