Hart v. Keith Vaudeville Exchange

Citation262 U.S. 271,43 S.Ct. 540,67 L.Ed. 977
Decision Date21 May 1923
Docket NumberNo. 763,763
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

Messrs. Martin W. Littleton and L. B. Eppstein, both of New York City, for appellant.

Mr. Geo. W. Wharton Pepper, of Philadelphia, Pa., for appellees.

Mr. Justice HOLMES delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is a suit by one whose business is getting contracts for vaudeville performers to perform in theatres all over the United States and acting as their manager and personal representative. It is brought against a combination of corporations engaged in similar business, and the owners of a large number of theatres known as the Keith Circuit, the owners of others known as the Orpheum Circuit, and some other persons not needing special mention here, who it is alleged are ruining the plaintiff's business by a conspiracy forbidden by the Anti-Trust Act of July 2, 1890, c. 647, 26 Stat. 209 (Comp. St. §§ 8820-8823, 8827-8830). An injunction and enormous damages are asked. The bill was dismissed for want of jurisdiction by the District Court on the ground that it did not state a cause of action arising under the Constitution or laws of the United Sta es.

The bill sets out at superfluous length a combination of the defendants to exclude actors from the theatres controlled by them, being practically all the theatres in the United States and in Canada in which high class vaudeville entertainments are produced, and to exclude the managers and personal representatives of actors from the defendants' booking exchange in New York and from business, unless they respectively comply with the defendants' requirements, including the payment of considerable sums. It is alleged that a part of the defendants' business is making contracts that call on performers to travel between the States and from abroad and in connection therewith require the transportation of large quantities of scenery, costumes and animals. Some or many of these contracts are for the transportation of vaudeville acts, including performers, scenery, music, costumes and whatever constitutes the act, so that it is said that there is a constant stream of this so-called commerce from State to State. The defendants contend and the judge below was of opinion that the dominant object of all the arrangements was the personal performance of the actors, all transportation being merely incidental to that, and therefore that the case is governed by Federal Baseball Club v. National League, 259 U. S. 200, 42 Sup. Ct. 465, 66 L. Ed. 898. On the other hand it is argued that in the transportation of vaudeville acts the apparatus sometimes is more important than the performers and that the defendants' conduct is within the statute to that extent at least.

The jurisdiction of the District Court is the only matter to be considered on this appeal. That is determined by the allegations of the bill, and...

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56 cases
  • United States v. Shubert
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • 31 Enero 1955
    ...United States v. Crescent Amusement Co., supra, 323 U.S. at page 183, 65 S.Ct. at page 259, 89 L.Ed. 160. See also Hart v. B. F. Keith Vaudeville Exchange, 262 U.S. 271,8 43 S.Ct. 540, 67 L.Ed. These decisions, apart from Federal Base Ball and Toolson, make it clear beyond question that the......
  • Moore-McCormack Lines v. INTERN. TERMINAL OPERATING
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of New York
    • 16 Octubre 1985
    ...700, 7 L.Ed.2d 663 (1962) ("That the claim is unsubstantial must be `very plain.'", quoting, Hart v. B.F. Keith Vaudeville Exchange, 262 U.S. 271, 274 43 S.Ct. 540, 541, 67 L.Ed. 977 (1923)); T.B. Harms Company v. Eliscu, 339 F.2d 823, 828-29 (2d Cir.1964), cert. denied, 381 U.S. 915 85 S.C......
  • Carroll v. Associated Musicians of Greater New York
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of New York
    • 25 Junio 1962
    ...Amusement Co., 323 U.S. 173, 183 65 S.Ct. 254, 89 L.Ed. 160) or the performance of a vaudeville act (Hart v. B. F. Keith Vaudeville Exchange, 262 U.S. 271 43 S.Ct. 540, 67 L.Ed. 977) or the performance of a legitimate stage attraction (United States v. Shubert, 348 U.S. ante, p. 222 75 S.Ct......
  • Hagans v. Lavine 8212 6476
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • 25 Marzo 1974
    ...end, as they are in this case, we have no power to go further.' 471 F.2d 347, 349—350. 9. Hart v. B. F. Keith Vaudeville Exchange, 262 U.S. 271, 274, 43 S.Ct. 540, 541, 67 L.Ed. 977 (1923). 10. Once a federal court has ascertained that a plaintiff's jurisdiction-conferring claims are not 'i......
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1 books & journal articles
  • Pleading, Discovery, and Proof of Sherman act Agreements: Harmonizing Twombly and Matsushita
    • United States
    • ABA Antitrust Library Antitrust Law Journal No. 82-1, January 2018
    • 1 Enero 2018
    ...claim was “wholly frivolous.” Radovich v. Nat’l Football League, 352 U.S. 445, 453 (1957) (quoting Hart v. B.F. Keith Vaudeville Exch., 262 U.S. 271, 274 (1923) (Holmes, J.)). 5 Kenneth W. Dam, Fortner Enterprises v. U.S. Steel: “Neither a Borrower, nor a Lender Be , ” 1969 SUP. CT. REV. 1,......

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