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Law School Case Brief

Rothery Storage & Van Co. v. Atlas Van Lines, Inc. - 253 U.S. App. D.C. 142, 792 F.2d

Rule:

Because § 7 of the Clayton Act prohibits any merger which may substantially lessen competition in any line of commerce, it is necessary to examine the effects of a merger in each such economically significant submarket to determine if there is a reasonable probability that the merger will substantially lessen competition. That view of submarket analysis is also mandated by the purpose of the antitrust laws: the promotion of consumer welfare.

Facts:

Eight agents, five current and three former, of Defendant Atlas Van Lines, Inc. (Atlas), including Rothery Storage & Van Co. (Rothery) brought an antitrust action against Atlas, claiming that Atlas and several of the carrier agents affiliated with Atlas adopted a policy constituting a "group boycott" in violation of section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1 (1982), which prohibits "every contract, combination, or conspiracy in restraint of trade." The district court granted Atlas' motion for summary judgment on several alternative grounds. Rothery and the others appealed the dismissal.

Issue:

Did the district court err in granting summary judgment to Atlas in Rothery’s action against Atlas for violation of § 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C.S. § 1?

Answer:

No

Conclusion:

The appellate court affirmed because it found that Atlas’ policy was designed to make the moving company more efficient rather than to decrease the output of its services and raise rates.

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