104 N.W. 40 (Mich. 1905), Hunt v. Riverside Co-op. Club
|Citation:||104 N.W. 40, 140 Mich. 538|
|Opinion Judge:||[140 Mich. 540] CARPENTER, J.|
|Party Name:||HUNT, Pros. Atty. of Wayne County, v. RIVERSIDE CO-OPERATIVE CLUB et al.|
|Attorney:||[140 Mich. 539] John J. Speed, for appellants. Ormond F. Hunt, Pros. Atty., pro se.|
|Judge Panel:||Argued before MOORE, C.J., and CARPENTER, McALVAY, GRANT, and HOOKER, JJ.|
|Case Date:||June 29, 1905|
|Court:||Supreme Court of Michigan|
Appeal from Circuit Court, Wayne County, in Chancery; Flavius L. Brooke and Robert E. Frazer, Judges.
Information in equity by Ormond F. Hunt, as prosecuting attorney of Wayne county, against the Riverside Co-operative Club and another, to restrain defendants from further operations in violation of Pub. Acts 1899, p. 409, No. 255, § 1. From a decree in favor of relator, defendants appeal. Modified and affirmed.
An agreement among the dealers in certain commodities to keep the selling price thereof at a fixed or graduated figure is void at common law as against public policy.
Section 1, Act No. 255, p. 409, of the Public Acts of 1899, reads as follows: 'That a trust is a combination of capital, skill or arts by two or more persons, firms, partnerships, corporations or associations of persons, or of any two or more of them, for either, any or all of the following purposes: 1. To create or carry out restrictions in trade or commerce. 2. To limit or reduce the production, or increase or reduce the price of, merchandise or any commodity. 3. To prevent competition in manufacturing, making, transportation, sale or purchase of merchandise, produce or any commodity. 4. To fix any standard or figure, whereby its price to the public or consumer shall be in any manner controlled or established, any article or commodity of merchandise, produce or commerce intended for sale, barter, use or consumption in this state. 5. It shall hereafter be unlawful for two or more persons, firms, partnerships, corporations or associations of persons, or of any two or more of them, to make or enter into or execute or carry out any contracts, obligations or agreements of any kind or description, by which they shall bind or have bound themselves not to sell, dispose of or transport any article or any commodity or any article of trade, use, merchandise, commerce or consumption below a common standard figure or fixed value, or by which they shall agree in any manner to keep the price of such article, commodity or transportation at a fixed or graduated figure, or by which they shall in any manner establish or settle the price of any article, commodity or transportation between them or themselves and others, so as to directly or indirectly preclude a free and unrestricted competition among themselves, or any purchasers or consumers, in the sale or transportation of any such article or commodity, or by which they shall agree to pool, combine or directly or indirectly unite any interests that they may have connected with the sale or transportation of any such article or commodity, that its price might in any manner be affected. Every such trust as is defined herein is declared to be unlawful, against public policy and void.'
Under the claim that the purpose of the organization of the first two named defendants was to violate the above-[140 Mich. 541] quoted section, relator filed this information in equity asking a decree restraining their further operation. Defendants answered, and the case was heard in the court below on pleadings and proof. A decree was granted in conformity with the prayer of the bill. Defendants appeal to this court.
Each of said first two named defendants is an unincorporated association. The Master Plumbers' Exchange was organized in January, 1902. The Riverside Co-operative Club was organized in the following July. The members of the exchange are master plumbers doing business in the city of Detroit and its vicinity. The importance of that organization is shown by the fact that, of the 168 master plumbers doing business in Detroit, 131--and these 'the most reputable' modestly states one of defendants' witnesses--are members of the exchange. The membership of the Riverside Club consists of the master plumbers belonging to the exchange and seven wholesale dealers and manufacturers in plumbers' supplies. (These seven comprise all the manufacturers and dealers in plumbers' supplies in the city of Detroit.) According to the rules and regulations of the Riverside Co-operative Club (these rules and
regulations constitute an agreement between the members of said club), the price of plumbers' supplies is to be fixed by a committee consisting of one wholesaler and one master plumber. At this price the wholesale members agree to sell without discrimination to the master plumber members, and the master plumber members agree to buy their entire supplies, distributing their trade equitably, from the wholesale members. The wholesalers agree to sell only to qualified master plumbers (this includes plumbers who are not, as well as those who are, members of the club) whose names appear on a list approved by the officers of the club. They also agree to charge nonmembers 15 to 30 per cent. more than members. The master plumber members agree that they will not sell labor or material at prices below those fixed by a schedule approved by the club. The master plumbers [140...
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