Atlantic Cleaners Dyers v. United States, No. 667

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtSUTHERLAND
Citation76 L.Ed. 1204,52 S.Ct. 607,286 U.S. 427
PartiesATLANTIC CLEANERS & DYERS, Inc., et al. v. UNITED STATES
Docket NumberNo. 667
Decision Date23 May 1932

286 U.S. 427
52 S.Ct. 607
76 L.Ed. 1204
ATLANTIC CLEANERS & DYERS, Inc., et al.

v.

UNITED STATES.

No. 667.
Argued April 28, 1932.
Decided May 23, 1932.

Page 428

Messrs. Dale D. Drain and Alvin L. Newmyer, both of Washington, D. C., for appellants.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 428-429 intentionally omitted]

Page 430

Mr. John LordO'Brian, Asst. to Atty. Gen., for the United States.

[Argument of Counsel from page 430 intentionally omitted]

Page 431

Mr. Justice SUTHERLAND delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is a suit brought by the United States against appellants to enjoin them from continuing, in the District of Columbia, an alleged combination and conspiracy in restraint of trade and commerce in cleaning, dyeing, and otherwise renovating clothes, contrary to section 3 of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, c. 647, 26 Stat. 209, U. S. C. title 15, § 3 (15 USCA § 3). Appellants answered, setting up affirmatively that they were engaged solely in the performance of labor and rendering service in cleaning, dyeing, and renovating wearing apparel and other articles which had passed into the hands of the ultimate consumers thereof, and that this did not constitute trade or commerce within the meaning of the Anti-Trust Act. Upon motion the answer was stricken from the files, on the ground that the matter pleaded was not a valid defense. Appellants elected to stand upon their answers; and a decree was entered as prayed. The case comes here by appeal under the provisions of the Act of February 11, 1903, c. 544, 32 Stat. 823, U. S. C. title 15, § 29 (15 USCA § 29); Swift & Co. v. United States, 276 U. S. 311, 322, 48 S. Ct. 311, 72 L. Ed. 587; United States v. California Co-op. Canneries, 279 U. S. 553, 558, 49 S. Ct. 423, 73 L. Ed. 838.

Upon the facts which stand admitted and those affirmatively pleaded by the answers, the sole question to be determined is whether, within the meaning of section 3 of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, appellants are engaged in trade or commerce in the District of Columbia.

The facts, established as above, are that they are carrying on the business of cleaning, dyeing, and renovating wearing apparel at plants located in the District, in part, and in some cases principally, at wholesale pursuant to contracts or engagements with numerous so-called retail

Page 432

dyers and cleaners who maintain shops in the District for receiving from the public clothing to be cleaned, dyed, or otherwise renovated. Appellants, in Angust, 1928, met together in the District and agreed to raise the then current prices charged for cleaning, dyeing, and renovating clothes, and formulated and agreed upon certain minimum and uniform prices, which they, and each of them, should thereafter charge and receive for the performance of such service. They further agreed to assign and allot to one another the retail dyers and cleaners, who, thereupon, were to be held, respectively, as exclusive customers. The agreement to maintain prices and assign and allot customers has been and is being carried into effect.

Section 1 and 3 of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act (15 USCA §§ 1, 3) provide as follows:

'Section 1. Every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several states, or with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal. * * *'

'§ 3. Every contract, combination in form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce in any Territory of the United States or of the District of Columbia, or in restraint of trade or commerce between any such Territory and another, or between any such Territory or Territories and any State or States or the District of Columbia, or with foreign nations, or between the District of Columbia and any State or States or foreign nations, is declared illegal. * * *'

The words describing the activity declared to be illegal are the same in both sections, namely, 'restraint of trade or commerce.' The contention on behalf of appellants is that the words, being identical, should receive the same construction in section 3 as in the preceding section 1; that section 1 rests solely on the commerce clause of the Constitution; that the words 'trade or commerce' in section 1 cannot be broader than the single word 'commerce' as used in that clause; and that commerce does not include a business such as that carried on by appellants.

Page 433

Assuming, but not deciding, that, if the acts here charged had involved interstate transactions, appellants would not come within the provisions of section 1, because the scope of the words 'trade or commerce' must there be limited by the constitutional power to regulate commerce, it does not follow that the same words contained in section 3 should be given a like limited construction. Most words have different shades of meaning, and consequently may be variously construed, not only when they occur in different statutes, but when used more than once in the same statute or even in the same section. Undoubtedly, there...

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  • In re Inc., Bankruptcy No. HG 05–00690.
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Sixth Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Western District of Michigan
    • March 17, 2011
    ...Stockholms Enskilda Bank, 293 U.S. 84, 87, 55 S.Ct. 50, 51, 79 L.Ed. 211 (1934), in turn quoting Atlantic Cleaners & Dyers, Inc. v. U.S., 286 U.S. 427, 433, 52 S.Ct. 607, 609, 76 L.Ed. 1204 (1932)). 144. Cf. 11 U.S.C. § 521(a)(4) (“A debtor shall ... surrender to the trustee all property of......
  • United States v. Havelock, No. 08–10472.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • January 6, 2012
    ...which those purposes are expressed, and of the circumstances under which the language was employed.Atl. Cleaners & Dyers v. United States, 286 U.S. 427, 52 S.Ct. 607, 76 L.Ed. 1204 (1932). Put differently, the presumption of uniformity “relents when a word used has several commonly understo......
  • Sanders v. Allison Engine Co., Nos. 10–3818
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • December 5, 2012
    ...words used in different parts of the same act are intended to have the same meaning,” Atl. Cleaners & Dyers, Inc. v. United States, 286 U.S. 427, 433, 52 S.Ct. 607, 76 L.Ed. 1204 (1932), is “not rigid” and will “yield[ ] whenever there is such variation in the connection in which the words ......
  • McCord v. Bailey, No. 79-1085
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • October 15, 1980
    ...may well vary to meet the purposes of the law....' " 409 U.S. at 421, 93 S.Ct. at 604 (quoting Atlantic Cleaners & Dyers v. United States, 286 U.S. 427, 433, 52 S.Ct. 607, 608, 76 L.Ed. 1204 The first clause of § 1985(2) is readily distinguishable from § 1983. In § 1983, "State or Territory......
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2 books & journal articles
  • CONGRESSIONAL RULES OF INTERPRETATION.
    • United States
    • William and Mary Law Review Vol. 63 Nbr. 6, May 2022
    • May 1, 2022
    ...See, e.g., Gen. Dynamics Land Sys.. Inc. v. Cline, 540 U.S. 581, 595-96 (2004); Atl. Cleaners & Dyers, Inc. v. United States, 286 U.S. 427, 433 (135.) See supra Table 4. (136.) 2 U.S.C. [section] 1741(4). (137.) 2 U.S.C. [section] 622(11). (138.) 5 U.S.C. [section] 8332(6)(B). (139.) Se......
  • (PARTIAL) CLARITY: ELIMINATING THE CONFUSION ABOUT THE REGULATION OF THE 'FACT' UAL BASES FOR EXPERT TESTIMONY UNDER THE FEDERAL RULES OF EVIDENCE.
    • United States
    • William and Mary Law Review Vol. 63 Nbr. 3, February 2022
    • February 1, 2022
    ...U.S. 561, 573-74 (1995); Dep't of Revenue of Or. v. ACF Indus., Inc., 510 U.S. 332,342 (1994); Atl. Cleaners & Dyers v. United States, 286 U.S. 427, 433 (37.) United States v. Rivera, 662 F.3d 166,176 (2d Cir. 2011); United States v. Damon, 595 F.3d 395, 400 (1st Cir. 2010), cert, denie......

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