Deitrich Loewe Et Al v. Martin Lawlor Et Al 389

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtFuller
Citation52 L.Ed. 488,28 S.Ct. 301,13 Ann. Cas. 815,208 U.S. 274
Decision Date03 February 1908
PartiesDEITRICH LOEWE ET AL. v. MARTIN LAWLOR ET AL. No 389

208 U.S. 274
28 S.Ct. 301
52 L.Ed. 488
DEITRICH LOEWE ET AL.

v.

MARTIN LAWLOR ET AL.

No 389.
Argued December 4, 5, 1907.
Decided February 3, 1908.

Page 275

Messrs. James M. Beck and Daniel Davenport for Loewe et al.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 275-280 intentionally omitted]

Page 280

Messrs.John Kimberly Beach, John H. Light, Robert De Forest, and Howard W. Taylor for Lawlor et al.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 280-283 intentionally omitted]

Page 283

Mr. Thomas Carl Spelling for the American Federation of Labor, et al.

Mr. Chief Justice Fuller delivered the opinion of the court:

This was an action brought in the circuit court for the district of Connecticut under § 7 of the anti-trust act of July 2, 1890 [26 Stat. at L. 210, chap. 647, U. S. Comp. Stat. 1901, p. 3202], claiming threefold damages for injuries inflicted on plaintiffs by combination or conspiracy declared to be unlawful by the act.

Defendants filed a demurrer to the complaint, assigning general and special grounds. The demurrer was sustained as to the first six paragraphs, which rested on the ground that the combination stated was not within the Sherman act, and this rendered it unnecessary to pass upon any other questions in the case; and, upon plaintiffs declining to amend their complaint, the court dismissed it with costs. 148 Fed. 924; and see 142 Fed. 216, 130 Fed. 633.

Page 284

The case was then carried by writ of error to the circuit court of appeals for the second circuit, and that court, desiring the instruction of this court upon a question arising on the writ or error, certified that question to this court. The certificate consisted of a brief statement of facts, and put the question thus: 'Upon this state of facts can plaintiffs maintain an action against defendants under § 7 of the anti-trust act of July 2, 1890?'

After the case on certificate had been docketed here, plaintiffs in error applied, and defendants in error joined in the application, to this court to require the whole record and cause to be sent up for its consideration. The application was granted, and the whole record and cause being thus brought before this court, it devolved upon the court, under § 6 of the judiciary act of 1891, to 'decide the whole matter in controversy in the same manner as if it had been brought there for review by writ of error or appeal.' [26 Stat. at L. 828, chap. 517, U. S. Comp. Stat. 1901, p. 550.]

The case comes up, then, on complaint and demurrer, and we give the complaint in the margin.1

Page 285

The question is whether, upon the facts therein averred and admitted by the demurrer, this action can be maintained under the anti-trust act.

The 1st, 2d, and 7th sections of that act are as follows:

Page 286

'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 hereby declared to be illegal. Every person who shall make any such

Page 287

contract or engage in any such combination or conspiracy shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished by fine not exceeding five thousand dollars, or by imprisonment not exceeding one year, or by both said punishments, in the discretion of the court.

Page 288

'2. Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons to monopolize, any part of the trade or commerce among the several states or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty

Page 289

of a misdemeanor, and on conviction thereof shall be punished by fine not exceeding five thousand dollars, or by imprisonment not exceeding one year, or by both said punishments, in the discretion of the court.'

Page 290

'7. Any person who shall be injured in his business or property by any other person or corporation by reason of anything forbidden or declared to be unlawful by this act may sue therefor in any circuit court of the United States in the district in

Page 291

which the defendant resides or is found, without respect to the amount in controversy, and shall recover three fold the damages by him sustained, and the costs of suit, including a reasonable attorney's fee.'

merce between them, and to prevent the plaintiffs from selling their hats to wholesale dealers and purchasers in said states other than Connecticut, and to prevent said dealers and customers in said other states from buying the same, and to prevent the plaintiffs from obtaining orders for their hats from such customers, and filling the same, and shipping said hats to said customers in said states as aforesaid, and thereby injure the plaintiffs in their property and business, and to render unsalable the product and output of their said factory, so the subject of interstate commerce, in whosoever's hands the same might be or come, through said interstate trade and commerce, and to employ as means to carry out said combination and conspiracy and the purposes thereof, and accomplish the same, the following measures and acts, viz.:

'To cause, by means of threats and coercion, and without warning or information to the plaintiffs, the concerted and simultaneous withdrawal of all the makers and finishers of hats then working for them, who were not members of their said combination, the United Hatters of North America, as well as those who were such members, and thereby cripple the operation of the plaintiffs' factory, and prevent the plaintiffs from filling a large number of orders then on hand, from such wholesale dealers in states other than Connecticut, which they had engaged to fill and were then in the act of filling, as was well known to the defendants; in connection therewith to declare a boycott against all hats made for sale and sold and delivered, or to be sold or delivered, by the plaintiffs to said wholesale dealers in states other than Connecticut, and to actively boycott the same and the business of those who should deal in them, and thereby prevent the sale of the same by those in whose hands they might be or come through said interstate trade in said several states; to procure and cause others of said combinations united with them in said American Federation of Labor, in like manner to declare a boycott against and to actively boycott the same and the business of such wholesale dealers as should buy or sell them, and of those who should purchase them from such wholesale dealers; to intimidate such wholesale dealers from purchasing or dealing in the hats of the plaintiff by informing them that the American Federation of Labor had declared a boycott against the product of the plaintiffs and against any dealer who should handle it, and that the same was to be actively pressed against them, and by distributing circulars containing notices that such dealers and their customers were to be boycotted; to threaten with a boycott those customers who should buy any goods whatever, even though union-made, of such boycotted dealers, and at the same time to notify such wholesale dealers that they were at liberty to deal in the hats of any other nonunion manufacturer of similar quality to those made by the plaintiffs, but must not deal in the hats made by the

Page 292

In our opinion, the combination described in the declaration is a combination 'in restraint of trade or commerce among the several states,' in the sense in which those words are used in the act, and the action can be maintained accordingly.

Page 293

And that conclusion rests on many judgments of this court, to the effect that the act prohibits any combination whatever to secure action which essentially obstructs the free flow of commerce between the states, or restricts, in that regard, the liberty of a trader to engage in business.

Page 294

The combination charged falls within the class of restraints of trade aimed at compelling third parties and strangers involuntarily not to engage in the course of trade except on conditions that the combination imposes; and there is no doubt

Page 295

that (to quote from the well-known work of Chief Justice Erle on Trade Unions) 'at common law every person has individually, and the public also has collectively, a right to require that the course of trade should be kept free from unreasonable

Page 296

obstruction.' But the objection here is to the jurisdiction, because, even conceding that the declaration states a case good at common law, it is contended that it does not state one within the statute. Thus, it is said that the restraint alleged would operate to entirely destroy plaintiffs' business and thereby include intrastate trade as well; that physical obstruc-

Page 297

tion is not alleged as contemplated; and that defendants are not themselves engaged in interstate trade.

We think none of these objections are tenable, and that they are disposed of by previous decisions of this court.

United States v. Trans-Missouri Freight Asso. 166 U. S. 290, 41 L. ed. 1007, 17 Sup. Ct. Rep. 540; United States v. Joint Traffic Asso. 171 U. S. 505, 43 L. ed. 259, 19 Sup. Ct. Rep. 25; and Northern Securities Co. v. United States, 193 U. S. 197, 48 L. ed. 679, 24 Sup. Ct. Rep. 436, hold, in effect, that the anti-trust law has a broader application than the prohibition of restraints of trade unlawful at common law. Thus, in the Trans-Missouri Case it was said that, 'assuming that agreements of this nature are not void at common law, and that the various cases cited by the learned courts below show it, the answer to the statement of their validity now is to be found in the terms of the statute under consideration;' and, in the Northern Securities Case, that the act declares 'illegal every contract, combination, or conspiracy, in whatever form, of whatever nature, and whoever may be parties to it, which directly or necessarily operates in restraint of trade or commerce among the several states.'

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230 practice notes
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    ...U.S. 418, 31 S.Ct. 492, 55 L.Ed. 797 (1911) (boycott of company's products because of allegedly unfair labor practices); Loewe v. Lawlor, 208 U.S. 274, 28 S.Ct. 301, 52 L.Ed. 488 (1908) (boycott of fur hats made by a company that would not allow its workers t be unionized). See also Apex Ho......
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    ...734. Upon the same principle, the Anti-Trust Act has been applied to the conduct of employees engaged in production. Loewe v. Lawlor, 208 U.S. 274, 28 S.Ct. 301, 52 L.Ed. 488, 13 Ann.Cas. 815; Coronado Coal Co. v. United Mine Workers, supra; Bedford Cut Stone Co. v. Stone Cutters' Associati......
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    ...the latter only in narrowly limited situations. Examples of the early Supreme Court position include Loewe v. Lawlor (Danbury Hatters), 208 U.S. 274, 28 S.Ct. 301, 52 L.Ed. 488 (1908), wherein an employer was allowed to sue under the Sherman Act when a union exerted pressure on him to union......
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    ...39 L.Ed. 1092 (1895). 12 167 Mass. 92 (1896). 13 See Plant v. Woods, 176 Mass. 492 (1900), (Holmes, J. dissenting). 14 Loewe v. Lawlor, 208 U.S. 274, 28 S.Ct. 301, 52 L.Ed. 488 (1908). 15 July 2, 1890, c. 647, 26 Stat. 209. 16 15 U.S.C. Secs. 12 et seq. 17 29 U.S.C. Sec. 52. 18 254 U.S. 443......
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226 cases
  • CONNELL CONST. CO., INC. v. Plumbers & Steam. Loc. U. No. 100, No. 72-1243.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • November 19, 1973
    ...the latter only in narrowly limited situations. Examples of the early Supreme Court position include Loewe v. Lawlor (Danbury Hatters), 208 U.S. 274, 28 S.Ct. 301, 52 L.Ed. 488 (1908), wherein an employer was allowed to sue under the Sherman Act when a union exerted pressure on him to union......
  • Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees v. Guilford Transp. Industries, Inc., No. 86-1366
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    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • October 28, 1986
    ...39 L.Ed. 1092 (1895). 12 167 Mass. 92 (1896). 13 See Plant v. Woods, 176 Mass. 492 (1900), (Holmes, J. dissenting). 14 Loewe v. Lawlor, 208 U.S. 274, 28 S.Ct. 301, 52 L.Ed. 488 (1908). 15 July 2, 1890, c. 647, 26 Stat. 209. 16 15 U.S.C. Secs. 12 et seq. 17 29 U.S.C. Sec. 52. 18 254 U.S. 443......
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    • March 16, 1999
    ...latter interpretation of the Act, applying the antitrust laws to enjoin union activity in a number of cases. See, e.g., Loewe v. Lawlor, 208 U.S. 274, 28 S.Ct. 301, 52 L.Ed. 488 (1908); Gompers v. Buck's Stove & Range Co., 221 U.S. 418, 31 S.Ct. 492, 55 L.Ed. 797 (1911). As organized labor ......
  • Stafford v. Wallace Burton v. Clyne, Nos. 687
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    ...33 Sup. Ct. 90, 57 L. Ed. 243; Ohio R. R. Co. v. Worthington, 225 U. S. 101, 108, 32 Sup. Ct. 653, 56 L. Ed. 1004, and Loewe v. Lawlor, 208 U. S. 274, 301, 28 Sup. Ct. 301, 52 L. Ed. 488, 13 Ann. Cas. 815. It is manifest that Congress framed the Packers and Stockyards Act in keeping with th......
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4 books & journal articles
  • Religion and Antitrust
    • United States
    • Antitrust Bulletin Nbr. 23-3, September 1978
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    ...York Stock Exchange, 373 U.S. 341 (1963).57 Fashion Originators' Guild v. Federal Trade Commission, 312U.S. 457 (1941).58 Loewe v. Lawlor, 208 U.S. 274 (1908).59 Associated Press v. United States, 326 U.S. 1 (1945).60 Klor's, Inc. v, Broadway-Hale Stores, Inc., 359 U.S. 207, 213(1959).61 Un......
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    ...free flowof commerce between the States, orrestricts in this regard, the liberty of atrader to engage in business&dquo; (Loewev. Lawlor 208 U.S. 274, 1908). Shortlyafter passage of the NLRA, union mem-bership rose to its historical peak (asdid strike activity) to nearly 36 percentof the Ame......
  • The Trend Toward Federal Centralization
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    • ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, The Nbr. 113-1, May 1924
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    ...by the child labor deci-24 James T. Young, The New American Govern-ment and Its Work (N. Y. 1915), p. 119.25 Lowe v. Lawlor, 1908, 208 U. S. 274; Gompersv. Bucks Stove & Range Co., 1911, 221 U. S. 418.26 Duplex Printing Press Co. v. Deering, 1921,41 Sup. Ct. 172.27 The legislation dealing w......
  • Federal Protection of Labor
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    • ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, The Nbr. 224-1, November 1942
    • November 1, 1942
    ...8, p. 196. By contrast, Journeymen Stone Cutters Assn., 274 U. S. 37; since Pearl Harbor there have been no author- Loewe v. Lawlor, 208 U. S. 274; Duplex ized strikes and an average of 6 / 100 to 8 / 100 of ing Press Co. v. Deering, 254 U. S. 443. See 1 per cent loss of man days due to str......

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