238 Cal.App.2d 225, 22156, People v. Santa Clara Val. Bowling Proprietors' Ass'n

Docket Nº:22156
Citation:238 Cal.App.2d 225, 47 Cal.Rptr. 570
Opinion Judge:[10] Taylor
Party Name:People v. Santa Clara Val. Bowling Proprietors' Ass'n
Attorney:[7] Thomas C. Lynch, Attorney General, Wallace Howland, Assistant Attorney General, Mervin R. Samuel, Deputy Attorney General, and Keith E. Pugh, Jr., for Plaintiff and Appellant. [8] Doyle & Clecak and William P. Clecak for Defendants and Respondents.
Case Date:November 19, 1965
Court:California Court of Appeals

Page 225

238 Cal.App.2d 225

47 Cal.Rptr. 570

PEOPLE of the State of California, Plaintiff and Appellant,


SANTA CLARA VALLEY BOWLING PROPRIETORS' ASSOCIATION, a corporation, and Northern California Bowling Proprietors' Association, a corporation, Defendants and Respondents.

Civ. 22156.

California Court of Appeal, First District, Second Division

Nov. 19, 1965.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Thomas C. Lynch, Atty. Gen., of California, Wallace Howland, Asst. Atty. Gen., Mervin R. Samuel, Deputy Atty. Gen., for appellant, Keith E. Pugh, Jr., formerly Deputy Atty. Gen., of counsel.

Doyle & Clecak, San Francisco, for respondents.

TAYLOR, Justice.

The sole question presented on this appeal is the adequacy of the injunctive relief afforded to the state in its action against restraints of trade by defendants, the Santa Clara Valley Bowling Proprietors' Association (hereafter called Santa Clara), the Northern California Bowling Proprietors' Association (hereafter called Norcal), and naming as coconspirator the Bowling Proprietors' Association of America (hereafter called BPAA). Although the complaint, filed in 1960, charged defendants with conspiring in several types of restraints of trade, including price-fixing and bid-rigging, in violation of sections 16720 and 16726 of the Business and Professions Code (hereafter called the Cartwright Act), only the bowling tournament eligibility rule adopted in 1961 (hereafter called the modified eligibility rule) is in issue here.

The trial court found that defendants had conspired to violate the Cartwright Act and granted the state all of the equitable relief requested except an injunction against the use and enforcement of the modified eligibility rule. The findings of fact and conclusions of law establish that defendants' practices of fixing prices by agreement, bid-rigging, and adopting a code of ethics with enforcement provisions, were unreasonable restraints of trade, and that the former tournament eligibility rules (hereafter called the former Norcal rule and the BPAA rule, respectively), constituted a group boycott, secondary boycott and tie-in agreement, in violation of the Cartwright Act.

As defendants have abandoned their appeal, we are concerned only with paragraph V of the judgment. 1 The state argues that the trial court erred in failing to provide therein that defendants were to be enjoined from adopting any eligibility

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rule requiring that a bowler must bowl all or any of his league play in member establishments and that, therefore, the injunction in its present form is inadequate to enforce the judgment rendered.

While a full exposition of all matters treated in the briefs might serve better to illuminate the controversy, this could be accomplished only by extending this opinion beyond readable limits. Inasmuch as questions of law only are presented, it will be sufficient to state generally the salient facts about the defendant and coconspirator organizations, the bowling business, and the nature and effect of the modified eligibility rule.

Defendants and the coconspirator are nonprofit corporate associations established to promote the common interests of owners and operators of bowling establishments. Defendant Santa Clara, the local organization, has a membership of all but two [87 per cent] of the bowling establishments in the San Jose area of Santa Clara County; defendant Norcal, the regional organization, a membership of 210 [88 per cent] of the 240 bowling establishments in the geographic area bounded by the Oregon border on the north and Pismo Beach and Delano on the south. Both Santa Clara and Norcal are affiliated with BPAA, the national organization, which, with a membership of 5,488 bowling establishments in the United States and Canada and with its various affiliates, owns or controls fairly close to 90 per cent of all bowling lanes in the United States. BPAA promulgated by-laws, tournament rules and regulations which are binding on its members and affiliated associations.

One of the purposes of BPAA is to foster the formation of state, city and district bowling proprietor associations and to urge their affiliation with the national organization on the condition that each affiliate require its members to become members of BPAA. Membership in Norcal is limited to proprietors who are members in good standing of local associations. Under BPAA by-laws, no affiliate organization has authority to accept a proprietor for local or state membership only, as members of affiliated organizations must become

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members of BPAA. Loss of membership in the local association results in loss of membership in the regional association; in turn, loss of membership in the regional association results in the loss of membership in the national association. The board of directors of BPAA is composed of members selected by its affiliated organizations, including Norcal.

In February 1960, Norcal adopted its former rule limiting eligibility to participate in tournaments approved by Norcal to bowlers who confined their league and tournament bowling exclusively to BPAA member establishments and to bowlers who signed agreements to desist immediately from participating in organized bowling in any and all competing bowling establishments not members in good standing of Norcal or other BPAA affiliated associations. In June 1960, BPAA amended its by-laws to include a rule providing that no adult bowler was eligible to participate in tournaments sponsored or conducted by BPAA or any of its affiliated associations unless such bowler confined his league tournament and advertised exhibition bowlling exclusively to establishments who were members in good standing of BPAA. In June 1960, Norcal adopted the BPAA rule in place of its own prior rule. In June of 1961, BPAA removed the above mentioned rule from its by-laws and limited its applicability to the six national tournaments it conducted or sponsored annually in northern California.

Thereafter, on July 14, 1961, Norcal adopted the modified eligibility rule here in issue. This rule, used in all tournaments sponsored or sanctioned by Norcal and its affiliates after that date, reads as follows: 'All bowlers who bowl regularly in at least one league in a membership house (21-game established average required) shall be eligible to participate in tournaments conducted by Northern California Bowling Proprietors' Association and its members; ths rule shall apply to all tournaments given Blue Ribbon and General approval and also to those tournaments for which members display posters, advertising or otherwise solicit the support of fellow members.'

A brief description of the bowling business is necessary for an understanding of the issue here presented. Bowlers who bowl individual games are engaged in 'open play.' A substantial number of bowlers engage in competition as members

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of various leagues. 2 A league is composed of six to forty teams with four of five bowlers perteam. Leagues generally enter into agreements 3 with bowling establishments for each season 4 and bowl periodically, usually weekly, during such time. League bowling is essential to the profitable operation of a bowling establishment and constitutes 50 per cent or more of the total lineage bowled in an average establishment. In addition, league bowlers bowl about one-third of all the 'open play' in an establishment and are a major source of bar and restaurant revenue.

A number of bowlers, both as individuals and as members of league teams, participate in bowling tournaments that are generally of two types: 'house tournaments' sponsored or conducted by bowling proprietors, including members of defendants' organizations, and tournaments sponsored or conducted by nonprofit organizations. Both types of tournaments produce business for the bowling establishments in which they take place. 'House tournaments' often provide substantial cash prizes for the winners from a prize fund created from the entry fees paid by the participating bowlers or, in some instances, from contributions of the individual bowling establishments, or the affiliated association conducting the tournament, or the BPAA.

BPAA annually sponsors or conducts six national tournaments in northern California. The elimination rounds for the national tournaments are conducted by Norcal through its members. In addition, Norcal conducts four regional tournaments of its own and approves some of the tournaments of its individual members. 5 Many members of Norcal, however, conduct their own tournaments without requesting the approval of Norcal.

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Virtually all of the over seven million league bowlers in the United States belong to one of two nonprofit associations of bowlers: the American Bowling Congress, the men's organization (hereafter called ABC); and the Women's International Bowling Congress (hereafter called WIBC). Neither ABC nor WIBC has any interest in the financial success of any bowling establishment. Their primary purpose is to standardize the bowling conditions and equipment under which their members bowl throughout the country. Both, through their local associations, 'certify' and 'sanction' the leagues and tournaments. Eighty-five per cent of all tournaments and 90 per cent of the leagues are so sanctioned. Both ABC and WIBC record, tabulate...

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