Federal Trade Commission v. Corporation, UNIVERSAL-RUNDLE

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtWARREN
Citation387 U.S. 244,87 S.Ct. 1622,18 L.Ed.2d 749
PartiesFEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION, Petitioner, v. CORPORATION
Decision Date29 May 1967
Docket NumberNo. 101,UNIVERSAL-RUNDLE

387 U.S. 244
87 S.Ct. 1622
18 L.Ed.2d 749
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION, Petitioner,

v.

UNIVERSAL-RUNDLE CORPORATION.

No. 101.
Argued March 13, 1967.
Decided May 29, 1967.

Robert S. Rifkind, New York City, for petitioner.

Frank C. McAleer, Chicago, Ill., for respondent.

Page 245

Mr. Chief Justice WARREN delivered the opinion of the Court.

The question presented by this case is whether the Court of Appeals exceeded its authority as a reviewing court by postponing the operation of a Federal Trade Commission cease-and-desist order against respondent until an investigation should be made of alleged industry-wide violations of the price discrimination provisions of the Clayton Act, § 2, 38 Stat. 730, as amended by the Robinson-Patman Act, 49 Stat. 1526, 15 U.S.C. § 13.

Respondent Universal-Rundle produces a full line of china and cast-iron plumbing fixtures which it sells to customers located throughout the United States. In 1960, the Federal Trade Commission issued a complaint charging that for more than three years Universal-Rundle's sales to some of these customers had been made 'at substantially higher prices than the prices at which respondent sells such products of like grade and quality to other purchasers, some of whom are engaged in competition with the less favored purchasers in the resale of such products.' The effect of the discriminations, the complaint alleged, 'may be substantially to lessen competition' in violation of § 2(a) of the Clayton Act, as amended. In its answer, Universal-Rundle denied the essential allegations of the complaint, and, in addition, asserted as affirmative defenses that such price differentials as may have existed were cost justified or were made 'in good faith to meet competition.'

After evidentiary hearings, in which Universal-Rundle made no effort to sustain its affirmative defenses, the Commission found that during 1957 Universal-Rundle had offered 'truckload discounts' averaging approximately 10% to all of its customers. Because some of these customers could not afford to purchase in truckload quantities, and thus were unable to avail them-

Page 246

selves of the discounts, the Commission held that the offering of the truckload discounts constituted price discrimination within the meaning of § 2(a) of the Clayton Act, as amended. Since some Universal-Rundle customers who were able to purchase in truckload quantities were found to be in competition with customers unable to take advantage of the discounts, the Commission concluded that Universal-Rundle's price discrimination had the anticompetitive effect proscribed by § 2(a).1 Accordingly, it ordered Universal-Rundle to refrain from:

'Discriminating in price by selling 'Universal-Rundle' brand or Universal-Rundle manufactured plumbing fixtures * * * of like grade and quality to any purchaser at prices higher than those granted any other purchaser, where such other purchaser competes in fact with the unfavored purchaser in the resale or distribution of such products.'

At no time during the four years in which the complaint was pending did Universal-Rundle offer the Commission any information as to its competitors' princing practices or suggest that industry-wide proceedings might be appropriate. But one month after the issuance of the cease-and-desist order, Universal-Rundle petitioned the Commission to stay its cease-and-desist order for a time sufficient 'to investigate and institute whatever proceedings are deemed appropriate by the Commission to correct the industry-wide practice by plumbing fixture manufacturers of granting discounts inpr ices on truckload shipments.' In support of its petition, Universal-Rundle submitted affidavits and documents tending to show: (1) that its principal competitors were offering truckload discounts averaging approximately 18%; (2) that

Page 247

Universal-Rundle's share of the Plumbing fixture market, exclusive of its sales to Sears, Roebuck and Co., was 5.75% whereas the five leading plumbing manufacturing concerns enjoyed market shares of 6 to 3i%;2 and (3) that each of these five competitors had reported profits within the preceding two years whereas Universal-Rundle had sustained substantial losses during each of the preceding three years. In addition, Universal-Rundle submitted an affidavit in which its marketing vice president declared on information and belief that some of Universal-Rundle's competitors were selling to customers who 'may not purchase in truckload quantities.' The vice president further averred:

'That based upon his knowledge of the competitive conditions in this industry, if respondent is not permitted to sell plumbing fixtures with a differential in price as are its competitors on truckload and less than truckload quantities, respondent's sales of plumbing fixtures under the 'U/R' brand will be substantially decreased and lost to its competitors, who continue to offer substantial...

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41 practice notes
  • National Petroleum Refiners Association v. FTC, No. 72-1446.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • June 27, 1973
    ...235 (1973); Weinberger v. Hynson, Westcott & Dunning, Inc., supra, 412 U.S. at 625-628, 93 S.Ct. 2469; FTC v. Universal-Rundle Corp., 387 U.S. 244, 87 S.Ct. 1622, 18 L.Ed.2d 749 (1967); Moog Industries, Inc. v. FTC, 355 U.S. 411, 78 S.Ct. 377, 2 L.Ed.2d 370 Such benefits are especially obvi......
  • LG Balfour Company v. FTC, No. 17236.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • April 5, 1971
    ...power to enter an order against one firm that is practicing an industry-wide illegal trade practice. F. T.C. v. Universal Rundel Corp., 387 U.S. 244, 87 S.Ct. 1622, 18 L.Ed.2d 749 (1967); Standard Oil Co. of California v. United States, 337 U.S. 293, 69 S.Ct. 1051, 93 L.Ed. 1371 (1949); Moo......
  • U.S. v. Marshall, Nos. 89-2420
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • September 10, 1990
    ...punishment. Wayte v. United States, 470 U.S. 598, 607-10, 105 S.Ct. 1524, 1530-32, 84 L.Ed.2d 547 (1985); FTC v. Universal-Rundle Corp., 387 U.S. 244, 87 S.Ct. 1622, 18 L.Ed.2d 749 (1967); Falls v. Town of Dyer, 875 F.2d 146 (7th Cir.1989). Prosecutors possess the power to excuse the big ch......
  • Del Marcelle v. Brown Cnty. Corp., No. 10–3426.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • May 17, 2012
    ...judicial review of the complaint—indeed, does not authorize a court to set aside the final decision either. FTC v. Universal–Rundle Corp., 387 U.S. 244, 87 S.Ct. 1622, 18 L.Ed.2d 749 (1967); Moog Industries, Inc. v. FTC, 355 U.S. 411, 78 S.Ct. 377, 2 L.Ed.2d 370 (1958). Thus there is no cla......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
41 cases
  • National Petroleum Refiners Association v. FTC, No. 72-1446.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • June 27, 1973
    ...235 (1973); Weinberger v. Hynson, Westcott & Dunning, Inc., supra, 412 U.S. at 625-628, 93 S.Ct. 2469; FTC v. Universal-Rundle Corp., 387 U.S. 244, 87 S.Ct. 1622, 18 L.Ed.2d 749 (1967); Moog Industries, Inc. v. FTC, 355 U.S. 411, 78 S.Ct. 377, 2 L.Ed.2d 370 Such benefits are especially obvi......
  • LG Balfour Company v. FTC, No. 17236.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • April 5, 1971
    ...power to enter an order against one firm that is practicing an industry-wide illegal trade practice. F. T.C. v. Universal Rundel Corp., 387 U.S. 244, 87 S.Ct. 1622, 18 L.Ed.2d 749 (1967); Standard Oil Co. of California v. United States, 337 U.S. 293, 69 S.Ct. 1051, 93 L.Ed. 1371 (1949); Moo......
  • U.S. v. Marshall, Nos. 89-2420
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • September 10, 1990
    ...punishment. Wayte v. United States, 470 U.S. 598, 607-10, 105 S.Ct. 1524, 1530-32, 84 L.Ed.2d 547 (1985); FTC v. Universal-Rundle Corp., 387 U.S. 244, 87 S.Ct. 1622, 18 L.Ed.2d 749 (1967); Falls v. Town of Dyer, 875 F.2d 146 (7th Cir.1989). Prosecutors possess the power to excuse the big ch......
  • Del Marcelle v. Brown Cnty. Corp., No. 10–3426.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • May 17, 2012
    ...judicial review of the complaint—indeed, does not authorize a court to set aside the final decision either. FTC v. Universal–Rundle Corp., 387 U.S. 244, 87 S.Ct. 1622, 18 L.Ed.2d 749 (1967); Moog Industries, Inc. v. FTC, 355 U.S. 411, 78 S.Ct. 377, 2 L.Ed.2d 370 (1958). Thus there is no cla......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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