Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

TUNIS BROS. CO. v. FORD MOTOR CO.

October 5, 1988

TUNIS BROTHERS COMPANY, INC., RICHARD N. de la RIGAUDIERE, and DAVID C. SMITH
v.
FORD MOTOR COMPANY, FORD MOTOR CREDIT COMPANY, WENNER FORD TRACTOR, INC., JOHN S. WENNER, JOHN WATSON, DOUGLAS N. CRAWFORD, EUGENE W. FRAHER, E. S. HASEL, HUGH NICKEL and KENNETH E. HARRIS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: BECHTLE

 LOUIS C. BECHTLE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

 Defendants Ford Motor Company (hereinafter "Ford"), Ford Motor Credit Company, Wenner Ford Tractor, Inc., John S. Wenner, John Watson, Douglas N. Crawford, Eugene W. Fraher, E. S. Hasel, Hugh Nickel and Kenneth E. Harris move for summary judgment pursuant to Fed.R. Civ.P. 56(b) to dismiss plaintiffs' complaint which alleges violations of section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1 (1982), for termination of plaintiffs' Ford dealership. For the reasons stated herein, defendants' motion is denied.

 I. BACKGROUND

 This matter is before the district court on remand from the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. On May 7, 1984, this court granted defendants' motion for summary judgment to dismiss plaintiffs' antitrust claim for failure to present sufficient evidence concerning plaintiffs' conspiratorial conduct -- an element of plaintiffs' prima facie case under § 1 of the Sherman Act. Tunis Bros. Co., Inc. v. Ford Motor Co., 587 F. Supp. 267 (E.D.Pa. 1984). On appeal, the Third Circuit reversed and remanded the case for trial holding that plaintiffs' evidence presented a genuine issue of material fact as to the conspiracy charge. Tunis Bros. Co., Inc. v. Ford Motor Co., 763 F.2d 1482 (3d Cir. 1985) (hereinafter " Tunis Bros. I "). The United States Supreme Court granted defendants' petition for certiorari and vacated the judgment, remanding for further consideration in light of its decision in Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 89 L. Ed. 2d 538, 106 S. Ct. 1348 (1986) which reevaluated the standard for summary judgment in antitrust cases.

 On remand, the Third Circuit reaffirmed its decision in Tunis Bros. I holding that the Supreme Court's decision in Matsushita did not require a new result and remanded for "trial on all counts." Tunis Bros. Co., Inc. v. Ford Motor Co., 823 F.2d 49, 50 (3d Cir. 1987) (hereinafter " Tunis Bros. II "). Defendants' subsequent petition for certiorari was denied. Ford Motor Co. v. Tunis Bros. Co., Inc., 484 U.S. 1060, 108 S. Ct. 1013, 98 L. Ed. 2d 979 (1988). Defendants, once again, move for summary judgment stating that plaintiffs have failed to offer sufficient evidence on adverse impact on competition -- a second element in plaintiffs' prima facie case.

 A. Summary Judgment Standards

 Rule 56(c) instructs a district court to enter summary judgment where the record reveals no genuine issue of material fact and the evidence entitles the movant to judgment as a matter of law. In petitioning for summary judgment, the moving party bears the burden of identifying those portions of the record that demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986). Following such a showing, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to present affirmative evidence from which a jury might reasonably return a verdict in his favor. Id. at 323; Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986); Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87, 89 L. Ed. 2d 538, 106 S. Ct. 1348 (1986). In making its ruling, the court must draw all inferences in favor of the nonmoving party, Gans v. Mundy, 762 F.2d 338, 341 (3d Cir.), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 1010, 88 L. Ed. 2d 467, 106 S. Ct. 537 (1985), and all allegations of the nonmoving party which conflict with those of the movant must be taken as true. Anderson, supra, 477 U.S. at 253. Where a factual disagreement exists, a trial is necessary to resolve the conflict. Peterson v. Lehigh Valley Dist. Council, United Bhd. of Carpenters & Joiners, 676 F.2d 81, 84 (3d Cir. 1982).

 B. The Sherman Act and Anticompetitive Effects

 The basic principles which guide this court in determining whether a violation of § 1 of the Sherman Act has occurred have been articulated by the Third Circuit:

 
In order to sustain a cause of action under § 1 of the Sherman Act, the plaintiff must prove: (1) that the defendants contracted, combined or conspired among each other; (2) that the combination or conspiracy produced adverse, anticompetitive effects within relevant product and geographic markets; (3) that the objects of and the conduct pursuant to that contract or conspiracy were illegal; and (4) that the plaintiff was injured as a proximate result of that conspiracy.

 Martin B. Glauser Dodge Co. v. Chrysler Corp., 570 F.2d 72, 81-82 (3d Cir. 1977), cert. denied, 436 U.S. 913, 56 L. Ed. 2d 413, 98 S. Ct. 2253 (1978) (citations omitted). Since the Third Circuit's decision in Tunis Bros. II requires trial on the conspiracy issue, plaintiffs' first requirement is met for purposes of summary judgment.

 Defendants now move for summary judgment on the second issue, claiming that plaintiffs have failed to show the requisite adverse effects on competition in the market for tractors in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. The Third Circuit's decision in Martin B. Glauser ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.