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Independent Iron Works, Inc. v. United States Steel Corp.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

July 16, 1963

No. 16731

Opinion

 [*658]  In this private antitrust suit for treble damages the District Court, concluding that there was no substantial evidence  [*659]  tending to establish liability on the part of the defendants, directed the jury to render verdicts against plaintiff and thereafter dismissed the action. Plaintiff has appealed. 1 [**53]  The opinion of the District Court appears in 177 F.Supp. at 743.

The plaintiff, Independent Iron Works, Inc., has been engaged in the business of steel fabricating and construction [**2]  since 1924 and maintains a plant in Oakland, California. Its operations include the erecting of steel framework for buildings, bridges, and other structures, and the making of underframes for railroad freight cars. Plaintiff produces no steel but buys all its material; and it is reasonable to conclude that the producers' refusal to sell plaintiff structural steel in unlimited amount during the last half of 1955 precipitated this litigation.

Plaintiff's complaint named ten defendants. 2 Prior to trial six were dismissed because of lack of service, or for other reasons not necessary to notice; those remaining are United States Steel Corporation (U.S. Steel), Bethlehem Steel Company (Bethlehem), Bethlehem Pacific Coast Steel Corporation (Bethlehem Pacific) and Kaiser Steel Corporation (Kaiser). Bethlehem and Bethlehem Pacific were separate companies until their merger shortly before trial. They both had been subsidiaries of Bethlehem Steel Corporation, a holding company.

Although these defendants are primarily producers of steel, all of them save Bethlehem, whose business is carried on entirely outside of plaintiff's trade area, have maintained divisions which operate fabricating [**3]  plants in competition with plaintiff. As producer fabricators these defendants are, in the parlance of the economist, 'vertically integrated,' that is, they combine under one main organization distinct business operations at more than one level. See generally Kessler & Stern, Competition, Contract, and Vertical Integration, 69 Yale Law Journal 1 (1959).

Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint, on which this case went to trial, is in three counts. By two of the counts plaintiff charged all of the defendants collectively with a conspiracy to restrain and monopolize trade 'on the Pacific Coast' in the distribution, fabrication and erection of structural steel; plaintiff further charged Bethlehem and Bethlehem Pacific with a separate conspiracy to the same end; and plaintiff charged each defendant individually with monopolizing and attempting to monopolize trade in said businesses in violation of Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act. 50 Stat. 693 (1937) and 26 Stat. 209 (1890), as amended, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1, 2 (1958). The third count charged U.S. Steel alone with preventing plaintiff from bidding and freely competing for business of the Southern Pacific [**4]  Company, purportedly in violation of Section 10 of the Clayton Act. 3 [**54] 

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322 F.2d 656 *; 1963 U.S. App. LEXIS 4640 **; 1963 Trade Cas. (CCH) P70,848; 7 Fed. R. Serv. 2d (Callaghan) 540

INDEPENDENT IRON WORKS, INC., a corporation, Appellant, v. UNITED STATES STEEL CORPORATION, Bethlehem Pacific Coast Steel Corporation, Bethlehem Steel Company, and Kaiser Steel Corporation, Appellees

CORE TERMS

Steel, fabricators, bid, tons, defendants', conspiracy, copies, plate, deposition, appears, damages, flange, costs, customers, pre-trial, structural steel, orders, producers, plants, minutes, monopolize, tonnage, Sherman Act, documents, purchases, shipments, supplies, bidder, quotas, heavy

Civil Procedure, Trials, Judgment as Matter of Law, General Overview, Antitrust & Trade Law, Sherman Act, Price Fixing & Restraints of Trade, Vertical Restraints, Claims, Criminal Law & Procedure, Inchoate Crimes, Conspiracy, Elements, Monopolies & Monopolization, Actual Monopolization, Clayton Act, Scope, Judicial Officers, Judges, Discretionary Powers, Evidence, Relevance, Exclusion of Relevant Evidence, Confusion, Prejudice & Waste of Time, Documentary Evidence, Writings, Exceptions, Public Records, Testimony, Lay Witnesses, Personal Knowledge, Private Actions, Remedies, Pleading & Practice, Pleadings, Rule Application & Interpretation, Admissibility, Conduct Evidence, Prior Acts, Crimes & Wrongs, Appeals, Reviewability of Lower Court Decisions, Preservation for Review, Costs & Attorney Fees, Costs, Governments, Courts, Clerks of Court, Judgments, Entry of Judgments, Attorneys, Court Reporters, Court Reporter Fees, Costs Recoverable, Depositions & Transcripts, Evidence & Testimony, Depositions