UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT.
filed: December 10, 1959.
NOERR MOTOR FREIGHT, INC., ET AL., APPELLANTS IN NO. 12,750,
EASTERN RAILROAD PRESIDENTS CONFERENCE, ET AL., APPELLANTS IN NO. 12,751.
Before BIGGS, Chief Judge, and McLAUGHLIN and STALEY, Circuit Judges.
Opinion of the Court
Per Curiam: In this antitrust action for an injunction and treble damages,*fn1 forty-one long distance trucking companies and their trade association, Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association, sued twenty-four major eastern railroads, Eastern Railroad Presidents Conference and Carl Byoir Associates, Inc. a New York corporation, the public relations agency for the Conference.
Plaintiffs charged in their complaint (filed April 30, 1953) inter alia, that in or about May, 1949, the defendant Railroads embarked upon an illegal conspiracy, in violation of the civil and criminal provisions of the antitrust laws of the United States, aimed at destroying the plaintiffs and those similarly situated as competitors in the field of the hauling of freight, and at carving out exclusive, monopolistic spheres of operation in the freight transportation business of the United States, so that the railroads would have a monopoly on freight hauling in interstate commerce; that the defendant Railroads worked for those ends through the defendant Conference; that the latter retained defendant Byoir as publicity agent to carry said conspiracy into effect; that thereafter the Conference, its committees, members thereof, the defendant Railroads, their presidents and trustees and other individual defendants and Byoir, with divers other persons unknown to plaintiffs, have acted in combination and concert to obtain the objectives of the conspiracy. The means used are detailed in the complaint; a continuing conspiracy to the date of the complaint is alleged; damage to each of the plaintiffs is asserted, irreparable, continuing injury stated and an injunction asked. Defendants denied the charges of the complaint. In 1956, after the case had been assigned a trial date, October 1, 1956, after the case had been assigned a trial date, October 1, 1956, and while discovery procedures were pending, some of the Railroads and the Conference sought permission to and were allowed to file a counterclaim against the plaintiffs. This claimed that plaintiffs were engaged in an illegal conspiracy to obtain a monopoly of the long haul freight industry in the same part of the United States as set out in the complaint and to force the Railroads out of that part of the transportation business in that area.
The case went to trial before Judge Clary on October 1, 1956 and lasted almost four months. There were many witnesses and 968 exhibits. On October 10, 1957, the court in an exhaustive opinion (it covers 73 pages in 155 F.Supp. 768-841) found in favor of the plaintiffs against all the defendants on plaintiffs' cause of action and against the defendant counterclaimants and in favor of the plaintiffs on the counterclaim.
Soundly based on substantial evidence, the trial court found that the Railroads and Byoir, as contended, had conspired in unreasonable restraint of trade to injure the truckers in their competitive position in the long haul freight industry in the northeastern part of the United States; that their immediate purpose was to create public resentment to the truckers, not only in the minds of the general public but in the minds of those who utilized the services of the trucks and in such a manner as to interfere with business relations between shippers and truckers; that instead of meeting the truckers competition in the long haul freight field, the Railroads and Byoir combined to injure and/or destroy the truckers and thereby force the shippers to their detriment to continue to use the Railroads; that they adopted and carried out a full program to obtain that objective; that serious private injury to the truckers was accomplished, definitely a loss of good will to the trucking industry and in some instances that loss of good will being extreme; that their actions destroyed to a large extent the public confidence which the truckers had fairly earned and which might have been increased in the light of the innumerable beneficial accomplishments of the truckers in long haul transportation.
The court found on overwhelming evidence that it was no series of individual conspiracies in the various states involved but one large ever-growing conspiracy as charged having as its goal to injure and/or destroy the long haul trucking industry and that the main means used to attain such end was primarily a campaign designed to destroy the good will of the truckers and to instigate and foster government restrictions by creating public hostility to the truckers, bringing this to the attention of the various legislatures, then proposing legislation crippling to the trucking industry and favored by the Railroads, all under the guise of public spirited organizations and with the defendants' interest concealed.*fn2
The record shows the defendants' anti-trust conspiracy completely established against all the defendants named in the decree.*fn3 It shows both legal and illegal methods to obtain the illegal objective of injuring and/or destroying the long haul trucking industry. It shows injury to the plaintiffs and to the public. It justifies the injunctive relief against continuing illegal activities of the defendants. It justifies the compensatory damages (trebled by statute) allowed plaintiff Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association, together with costs and counsel fees. It justifies the holding of the district court that the other plaintiffs, by reason of the stipulation which is very clear and is part of the record, are only entitled to nominal damages. It justifies the dismissal of the counter-claim, which action is not disputed by the Railroads except in line with their argument that the counterclaim is similar in content to the plaintiffs' claim.
Though we think it plain from what we have said, it might be well to expressly note that the suggestion that the Railroads' entire activity, spearheaded by Byoir, was merely a perfectly legitimate public relations campaign for legislation is fanciful in view of the impressive documentation in the record of the finding of the trial court
"* * * that the entire campaign and its objectives did not constitute a mere appeal to the legislature; nor was it a large scale lobbying campaign. True, one phase of the activities was of a legislative nature - but a rather new approach to legislation, to say the least. The other phase, and the more important one of the campaign, was one of vilification designed to destroy the good will of the long-haul trucking industry.Hence, the Court has rejected the contention of the defendants that their combination was entirely legislative. I have further determined that the railroads were not acting as the guardian of the public welfare, as they have so earnestly asserted ."
Judge Clary's opinion is soundly predicated on the facts and law of this litigation. We are in accord with it. The decree and orders of the district court of July 22, 1958 and July 31, 1958 will be affirmed.
BIGGS, Chief Judge, dissenting.
The case at bar merits the attention of the reviewing Court. The record demonstrates that no cognizable offense has been proved under Section 1 or Section 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C.A. §§ 1 and 2, and that therefore relief cannot be granted to the plaintiffs under Sections 4 and 16 of the Clayton Act. 15 U.S.C.A.§§ 15 and 26. Moreover, the reach of the decision of the court below is disastrous for it applies the Sherman Act to governmental restraints imposed by statutes enacted by state legislatures and to private activity in procuring such legislation. If the interpretation of the court below and of this court be correct the reach of the First Amendment which guarantees freedom of petition will be unduly limited and to an extent at least, destroyed. Rights guaranteed to the States and to the people by the Tenth Amendment will be endamaged. Heavy sanctions, criminal as well as civil, can be imposed on persons who seek the enactment of laws by Congress or by the legislatures of the States. I shall endeavor to deal first with what can perhaps be properly described as "conventional" antitrust law in relation to the case at bar and at a later point in this opinion will discuss the application of the constitutional guarantees referred to.
What the record proves is the following. Certain interstate trucking companies*fn1 were engaged in hot economic competition with twenty-four major eastern railroads*fn2 in the interstate transportation of long-haul freight. The Railroads and the Truckers as groups were avidly desirous of increasing their own respective interstate freight haulage and profits and decreasing those of the competing group. Both Railroads and Truckers hired public relations agencies to aid them. The ERPC engaged Byoir. PMTA engaged Allied Public Relations Associates. The methods employed by the public relations agencies of both the Railroads and the Truckers left much to be desired in respect to moral consciousness. Sources of propaganda were concealed by both sides by the use of the so-called "third-party" technique.
Both Railroads and Truckers and their agencies desired to influence public opinion in order to increase their own good will and to damage that of each other and thereby to procure legislation favorable to themselves and unfavorable to the competing group.*fn3 There was no difference in substance between the methods employed by Byoir for the Railroads and those employed by Allied Public Relations Associates for the Truckers except that Byoir was more vigorous, more vocal, and more effective. It was a no-holds-barred fight by both sides. The methods employed might well cause justifiable fear to those concerned with the viability of our representative form of government.
Conventional Principles of Law Hitherto Deemed Applicable to Section 1 and Section 2 of Sherman Act Suits
As has been said, the action is based on Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act.*fn4 It is necessary to discuss the applicability of both sections and it is more convenient to proceed first with a discussion of Section 2. The Truckers ' case is deficient when viewed in the light of Section 2, the "Monopoly" section, of the Sherman Act. Section 2 provides: "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 of a misdemeanor. . . ." The offense of monopolizing means ". . . to combine or conspire to acquire or maintain the power to exclude competitors from any part of the trade or commerce among the several states or with foreign nations, provided they also have such a power that they are able, as a group, to exclude actual or potential competition from the field and provided that they have the intent and purpose to exercise that power."*fn5 American Tobacco Co. v. U.S ., 328 U.S. 781, 809 (1946). Since the Railroads have not effected a monopoly on long-haul freight traffic or destroyed the Truckers' business*fn6 only an attempt to monopolize or of a conspiracy to attempt to monopolize can be proved against them.*fn7 A necessary element of an attempt to monopolize is a specific intent to effect that result. United States v. Columbia Steel Co ., 334 U.S. 495, 531-534 (1948).
This leads to the issue which is dispositive of the Section 2 phase of the instant case. Can an attempt to monopolize the transportation of long haul freight in the sense required by Section 2 be inferred from the evidence? The elements necessary to establish an attempt to monopolize in violation of Section 2 were set out in classic form in Swift and Company v. United States, 196 U.S. 375, 396 (1905), and have remained unchanged. In the opinion last cited the Supreme Court said:
"Intent is almost essential to such a combination and is essential to such an attempt. Where acts are not sufficient in themselves to produce a result which the law seeks to prevent - for instance, the monopoly - but require further acts in addition to the mere forces of nature to bring that result to pass, an intent to bring it to pass is necessary in order to produce a dangerous probability that it will happen. Commonwealth v. Peaslee, 177 Massachusetts, 267, 272. But when that intent and the consequent dangerous probability exist, this statute, like many others and like the common law in some cases, directs itself against that dangerous probability as well as against the completed result."
Thus it is clear that in addition to an intent to monopolize, the evidence must prove that the activities of defendants in a Section 2 case create a dangerous probability of monopoly. See again United States v. Columbia Steel Co., supra .
The court below found as a fact that vigorous efforts were made by the Railroads and Byoir to injure the Truckers' good will business-wise, to decrease the number of the Truckers' customers, to pass anti-trucking legislation and to increase trucking costs and to prevent the enactment of legislation which would decrease those costs. The proof is not sufficient in the instant case to sustain a Section 2 charge. There is no evidence in this record proving that the efforts of the Truckers or Byoir were liable to bring the long-haul trucking industry to an end. There is no showing that even the most optimistic of the Railroads or Byoir intended, expected, or even hoped, to destroy interstate trucking. The circumstances at bar do not traverse the limitations imposed by the Columbia Steel Co . decision. Moreover, there is no proof whatsoever of a "dangerous probability" that a monopoly could result as required by the Swift decision. Under the circumstances a cause of action based on Section 2 falls. If the judgment of the court below against the Railroads is to be sustained it must be under Section 1 of the Sherman Act.
But the Truckers have not proved a cause of action cognizable under Section 1 of the Sherman Act. Section 1 of the Sherman Act prohibits "Every contract, combination . . . or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several states. . . ." As was said in Northern Pac. R. Co. v. United States, 356 U.S. 1, 5 (1958), "Although this prohibition is literally all-encompassing, the courts have construed it as precluding only those combinations which 'unreasonably' restrain competition". Mr. Justice Black went on to say that certain agreements or practices have such a pernicious effect on competition that they are "conclusively presumed to be unreasonable and therefore illegal without elaborate inquiry as to the precise harm they have caused or the business excuse for their use". Mr Justice Black then designates the kind of practices which the courts have deemed to be unlawful in and of themselves and cites the relevant cases.*fn8 The acts of the Railroads and Byoir were not proved to be such as to cause the case at bar to fall within the category of cases where the principle of unreasonableness is automatically applicable. The court below so found.*fn9 The issue then becomes: Did the combination or conspiracy here "unreasonably restrain competition"? The record fails to demonstrate that the Railroads and Byoir did so here.
Moreover, and quite aside from the foregoing, restraints which constitute violations of Section 1 are those which involve conspiracies of members of an industry to follow a mutually self-restricting course in the area of their own competence in order to obtain unlawful commercial advantages over customers or suppliers. The plan here, as proved, was to decrease the business of fellow members of the interstate transportation industry, the Truckers. Furthermore the essence of the campaign was not joint action for any one of the Railroads acting alone could have achieved the result which was attained. Any Railroad could have hired Byoir. If the law is to be changed in these important respects the revision should be effected expressly by the Supreme Court and not by this tribunal.*fn10
But without regard to what I have termed "conventional" antitrust law and whether the suit is sought to be maintained under Section 1 or Section 2, or both sections, I am of the view that the provisions of the Sherman Act are not applicable here because of what is set out in the following three headings of this opinion.
Principles of Antitrust Law Applicable Under the Circumstances at Bar Where Legislative Action Was Invoked or Avoided
The objectives of the Railroads, as found by the court below, are set out and discussed hereinafter under the heading "As to Damages". It is desirable to state again at this point that the principle objective of both Railroads and Truckers was to achieve legislation which would increase their own profits from interstate freight haulage and decrease those of the competing group. The actions of the Railroads and Byoir in this respect were described by the court below as the "fomenting of governmental restriction . . . increasing the cost of operation and/or preventing the carrying of greater loads" by the Truckers, and was held to be an unreasonable restriction of competition.*fn11 The public interest must be deemed, of course, to be involved here as it is in every antitrust suit but there is also a potent public interest in the right of the individual to act in support of or in opposition to legislation. Does the public interest in this latter right rise superior to the public interest sought to be preserved by the antitrust laws? Does the Sherman Act apply to legislative restraints or to private activity in support of such restraints? I think the decisions demonstrate that the Sherman Act cannot be employed tomake such private activities illegal and that whether successful or unsuccessful they do not constitute unreasonable restraints on interstate commerce.
In Olsen v. Smith, 95 U.S. 332, 344-345 (1904), where the restraint was imposed by a Texas statute, it was held that the intent of Congress in enacting the Sherman Act was to prevent private, not governmental, actions in restraint of competition.*fn12 In American Banana Co. v. United Fruit Co ., 213 U.S. 347, 358 (1909), the Supreme Court dealt with a very similar issue, Costa Rica, by what was in effect law, having confiscated property of one corporation at the instigation of a trade rival. Mr. Justice Holmes said that
"The fundamental reason why persuading a sovereign power to do this or that cannot be a tort . . . is that it is a contradiction in terms to say that within its jurisdiction it is unlawful to persuade a sovereign power to bring about a result that it declares by its conduct to be desirable and proper . . . It makes the persuasion lawful by its own act. The very meaning of sovereignty is that the decree of the sovereign makes law."
In Parker v. Brown, 317 U.S. 341, 351 (1943), California had passed a proration statute which restricted competition among raisin growers and fixed prices. Mr. Chief Justice Stone stated: "The Sherman Act makes no mention of the state, as such, and gives no hint that it was intended to restrain state action or official action directed by a state."
There is no doubt that a State of the United States in the exercise of its police power may legislate for the health, safety or welfare of its people or that a State may enact legislation affecting interstate commerce if the law passed does not "impede substantially the free flow of commerce from State to State." Southern Pacific Co. v. Arizona, 325 U.S. 761, 767 (1945). An exercise of State police power by the enactment of legislation by the State for a proper objective is constitutionally permissible. In Stephenson v. Binford, 287 U.S. 251, 276 (1932), the Supreme Court stated:
"We need not consider whether the act in some other aspect would be good or bad.It is enough to support its validity that, plainly, one of its aims is to conserve the highways. If the legislature had other or additional purposes, which, considered apart, it had no constitutional power to make effective, that would not have the result of making the act invalid."
Cf. Sproles v. Binford, 286 U.S. 374 (1932). One of the admitted purposes of the legislation with which we are here concerned was the preservation of State highways and another was the raising of State revenues. It appears clearly that the States involved in the instant case acted within their constitutional power, just as Governor Fine acted within his constitutional power when as Chief Executive of Pennsylvania he vetoed Senate Bill No. 615.*fn13 To hold otherwise would be to nullify substantially State legislative power.
It is asserted that United States v. Sisal Sales Corp ., 274 U.S. 268 (1927), and Steele v. Bulova Watch Co ., 344 U.S. 280 (1952), in effect overruled the American Banana Co . decision. In the Steele case the action was one brought under the Lanham Trade-Mark Act of 1946, 15 U.S.C.A. § 1051 et seq ., and was not based on the antitrust laws but more importantly an act of a sovereign was not involved. In the Sisal case it was held that the Sherman Act did not apply to what the defendants did in Mexico and Yucatan: i. e ., procure discriminatory legislation there. Mr. Justice McReynolds stated, 274 U.S. at p. 276,
"True, the conspirators were aided by discriminating legislation, but by their own deliberate acts, here and elsewhere, they brought about forbidden results within the United States. They are within the jurisdiction of our Courts and may be punished for offenses against our laws."
The American Banana Co . decision expressly was not overruled. I can find no Supreme Court decision, unless it be Foster-Fountain Packing Co. v. Haydel, 278 U.S. 1, 10-11 (1928), note 13, supra, which indicates a holding contrary to that of the American Banana Co . decision. The Foster Fountain Packing Co . case seems distinguishable on the ground appearing in the note cited. But in any event in United States v. Rock Royal Co-Op ., 307 U.S. 533, 560 (1939), the defendants attempted to prevent enforcement of a minimum Price Order*fn14 made by the Secretary of Agriculture on the ground that their competitors had engaged in a conspiracy to monopolize in violation of the Sherman Act by securing the drafting, adoption, and acceptance of the order. Mr. Justice Reed stated:
"If ulterior motives of corporate aggrandizement stimulated their activities, their efforts were not thereby rendered unlawful. If the Act and Order are otherwise valid, the fact that their effect would be to give cooperatives a monopoly of the market would not violate the Sherman Act or justify the refusal of the injunction."
The facts in Okefenokee Rural Elec. Mem. Corp. v. Florida P.&L. Co ., 214 F.2d 413, 418 (5 Cir. 1954), present an interesting analogy to those at bar and are very similar, save only that legislative action was not involved. It was alleged, however, that the State Road Department of Florida acting as a result of a conspiracy in violation of the Sherman Act between Florida Power and Light Company and others, prevented the Okefenokee Rural Electric Membership Corporation from making use of the only feasible route for an electric line along a public highway. It was alleged in the complaint that the defendants had been guilty of a "smear campaign", had made false arguments and had conducted dishonest activities as a result of which the State Road Department refused to grant the permit for the power line. Treating the facts alleged in the complaint as true, the Court of Appeals, in dismissing the suit, stated:
"As so forcibly illustrated in Keogh v. Chicago & N.W. Ry. Co ., 260 U.S. 156, 163, 'Injury implies violation of a legal right.' The plaintiff had no legal right to use the state highway without a permit from the State Road Department, nor the county roads without permission of the Board of County Commissioners, and those authorities have decided against the plaintiff. So long as their decisions stand the plaintiff has not been legally injured, notwithstanding it may have been irreparably damaged."
Implicit in this ruling is the legal conclusion that liability under the Sherman Act cannot be sustained by virtue of official action of a State agency however inspired by the acts of individuals.
I conclude (1) that the Sherman Act was not intended by Congress to be applicable to governmental restraints by way of legislation whether or not induced by private activity and (2) that private activities such as those conducted by the Railroads and Byoir under the circumstances presented here cannot be deemed to constitute unreasonable restraints or monopoly under the Act.*fn15
The Constitutional Issue
If the reasoning of this opinion as expressed thus far be erroneous, it is necessary to discuss the constitutional questions which are posed by the circumstances and the decision at bar. As I read the opinion of the court below the constitutional protection asserted by the defendants was rejected on the ground that by resorting to a campaign of defamation the Railroads and Byoir invalidated the guarantees of the First Amendment.*fn16 The majority opinion seems to take a similar view. But I had not hitherto imagined that a constitutional guarantee could be avoided because of the bad conduct of the individual asserting the constitutional right. I do not believe so now. It might be argued, of course, that a determination that a restraint is unreasonable obviates constitutional guarantees but to state this argument demonstrates its invalidity. Cf. United States v. Columbia Steel Co., supra, 334 U.S. at p. 522. The vast importance of the right to petition, usually exercised by joint action, was set out by Mr. Justice Brandeis in his dissenting opinion in Gilbert v. Minnesota, 254 U.S. 325, 337-338 (1920), as follows:
"The right . . . necessarily includes the right . . . to endeavor to make . . . own opinion concerning laws existing or contemplated prevail. . . . Full and free exercise of this right by the citizen is ordinarily also his duty; for its exercise is more important to the National than it is to himself. Like the course of the heavenly bodies, harmony in national life is a resultant of the struggle between contending forces. In frank expression of conflicting opinion lies the greatest promise of wisdom in governmental action; and in suppression lies ordinarily the greatest peril."
Mr. Justice Brandeis' view in the Gilbert case became the law in Dennis v. United States, 341 U.S. 494 (1951). The First Amendment protects "secular" causes as well as "religious or political ones." Thomas v. Collins, 323 U.S. 516, 530-531 (1945). A proposal to tax trucks stands upon the same ground as a religious speech or an unpopular political idea. The expression of "bloc sentiment" is an integral part of our legislative process. United States v. C.I.O ., 335 U.S. 106, 143-144 (1948). There can be no question that the "idea" that trucks should or should not be taxed by the States has "social importance". Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476, 484 (1957).
If persons are to be prohibited access to legislators because their utterances may be offensive to personal taste or morals we have moved far away from the Framers' conception of our republican form of government. The concept of lack of access by the people to a legislature is in its essence totalitarian. If material contrary to good morals, such as obscene matter, is placed by an individual or a group in unenlightened self interest before a State legislature it is, of course, permissible for the State to punish the projectors of such material by criminal or civil sanctions.But the imposition of such sanctions assuredly is not the function of the antitrust laws of the United States. To say that an individual legislator may be over-persuaded or wrongly convinced as to how he should vote is to state a commonplace but to deprive an individual of the right to petition under the guise of protecting private companies from restraint of trade or monopolistic practices is to say far too much and to say it badly. To whom may a person go to attempt to create or change the laws under which he lives if not to his Senators or Representatives, State or National? True, ills may inhere in this democratic process.The legislature may be propagandized by material from a tainted source but this is an abuse which is curable as Congress has cured it.*fn17 If persons are to be deprived of the right to petition because that right has been subject to abuse, liberty visibly will take flight.
I think that every thoughtful person will agree that the legislative processes cannot be conducted successfully and should not be conducted at all unless members of the public and all interested groups are allowed free access to legislators and legislatures in respect to legislation, pending or proposed. The application of the Sherman Act to limit the free expression of ideas by the public and interested groups, the right to petition, in order to give information, whether pertinent or impertinent, to their legislators and legislatures, would foil the legislative processes which consist in a large part of the balancing of conflicting interests and influences. In this field limitation is the equivalent of prohibition for if persons exercising their right to petition are to be subject to prosecution under the Sherman Act or to damages in civil suits under the Clayton Act, or go in fear of such prosecution or such suits, these persons will not exercise the right to petition and a fundamental constitutional right will be limited or destroyed. Sources of information now open to legislators as to pertinent conflicting interests will be choked-off or obliterated. The scope of the Sherman Act has been greatly enlarged in recent years and it is indeed a flexible statute but I cannot conceive that Congress intended it to be applied to limit or prohibit free access to legislatures or to the inducing of legislative action by private activity.
Moreover, in the instant case the exercise of State police or taxing power is a most delicate area in the fine balance which must be preserved between the States and the National Government. The enactment of legislation in the two fields designated is peculiarly a concern of the States and the enactment of such laws by the legislatures is the last sanctuary of States' rights.Here another provision of the Constitution comes into play. The Tenth Amendment provides that:
"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
True, State police power has been curbed in the past by Congress by way of the Civil Rights Acts and State taxation has been limited by Congress where it has been deemed to trench on interstate commerce. And see again the quotation from Mr. Chief Justice Stone's opinion in Parker v. Brown, supra, 317 U.S. at p. 351, where California had passed a proration statute which restricted competition among growers of raisons and also fixed prices. The principle enunciated is central to the Tenth Amendment for one must always ask oneself, as indicated above, how a State legislature could legislate effectively without information or petitions from those affected by legislation?The argument made by the Truckers in substance is that State action is not being affected but only nefarious conduct by those who induced State action is being curbed. It would seem that action by the State under the circumstances at bar must surely cauterize action by individuals. But if the great liberties guaranteed by the Constitution must be exercised reasonably, surely the circumstances presented here do not warrant limitation of the right to petition by the Sherman Act. I believe that Congress did not intend or even contemplate such a result.
As to Damages
The court below, as I grasp the contents of its opinion, has concluded that because the Railroads and Byoir embarked on a "Campaign of Vilification" against the Truckers legal damage resulted to them in the form of loss of "good will".*fn18 The court divided "good will" into two categories: first, good will of the Truckers in respect to their customers, injury by way of loss of business, and, second, loss of the good will of the public, the injury being defined in terms of disability "to avoid the imposition of crippling burdens and restrictions".*fn19 By stipulation it was agreed by the parties that the only damages claimed by the Truckers were those resulting from gubernatorial veto of certain legislation.*fn20 Single damages, subsequently trebled were awarded to PMTA. These were assessed on the basis principally of the money, $217,358, spent by PMTA, through Allied Public Relations Associates, for "defensive measures", measures employed by PMTA to aid the Truckers, including the prosecution of the suit at bar. The monies which PMTA spent were expended for the very purposes for which they were contributed by the Truckers to PMTA.*fn21 It appears therefore that these expenditures made by PMTA were in reality paid for by the Truckers and that PMTA was a mere agent or conduit for the sums expended. I therefore can perceive no basis for the reimbursement of these sums to PMTA by way of allowance of damages to PMTA.
Moreover, the court below, while expressly refusing to allow damages to the Truckers because of the successful efforts of the Railroads and Byoir in defeating legislation sought by the Truckers, nonetheless allowed each of the Truckers nominal damages of six cents, trebled, eighteen cents, because of the Railroads' and Byoir's bad conduct. Since the court below held that no legally cognizable damages could ensue from acts entirely governmental*fn22 no legal foundation to support these nominal awards appears.
A substantial counsel fee was also allowed to counsel for the PMTA. This award also must fall if the judgment is reversed as I believe it must be.
I am also of the opinion that the injunctive relief granted under Section 16 of the Clayton Act is without justification. My conclusion in this regard is not based on any alleged abuse of legal discretion by the court below. It rests on the broad ground that no facts were proved which, under the antitrust laws, could justify the injunctive relief granted.
In conclusion, on the issue of damages, it is desirable, although perhaps not necessary, to comment briefly on the approach of the court below to loss of "good will" as elements of damage. If damages are to be recovered under Section 1 (or for that matter, under Section 2) of the Sherman Act in conjunction with Section 4 of the Clayton Act, there must be proof of damage. As to the loss of good will by the Truckers, business-wise in respect to their customers as defined by the court below, quoted in note 19 supra, it is clear there was no showing of any loss of business by any individual Trucker. None of the Truckers had or could have a legally protected interest in the good will of the trucking industry as a whole. Cognizable injury under the Sherman Act must be to some "business or property", i. e ., a violation of some property right or business which is recognized by the law.*fn23 The court below took the position that the trucking industry is a legal entity possessing a cognizable interest in a kind of general good will belonging jointly to all Truckers in the suing group. But the suit at bar is a private antitrust suit. No joint right whatsoever is involved and each Trucker must maintain and vindicate his own separate and individual right.*fn24 There can be no good will in gross. There is no evidence that any of the Truckers individually suffered or was threatened with any injury to his good name or to his business reputation. This element of damage attempted to be proved by the Truckers was shown to be completely lacking in factual foundation.
For the reasons stated I must dissent. I would reverse the judgment of the court below save only as to that portion of it which denies relief under the counterclaims.