Legal Memorandum: Antitrust Violation Claims in VI

Issue: Under the law of the Virgin Islands, what must a plaintiff establish to prevail on a claim of the violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act?

Area of Law: Antitrust & Trade Regulation
Keywords: Sherman Antitrust Act; Antitrust violations; Conspiracy
Jurisdiction: Federal, Virgin Islands
Cited Cases: 522 U.S. 3
Cited Statutes: 15 U.S.C. § 1; 15 U.S.C. § 15(a)
Date: 04/01/2015

The Sherman Antitrust Act prohibits contracts, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in the restraint of trade.  15 U.S.C. § 1.  Private parties injured by violations of the Act may bring claims and seek treble damages and expenses of the suit, including attorneys’ fees.  15 U.S.C. § 15(a). 

In order to establish a conspiracy, the plaintiff must establish that there were other parties involved who conspired and that the conspiring parties otherwise had some sort of competitive relationship.  Ark Dental Supply Co. v. Cavitron Corp., 461 F.2d 1093, 1094 n.1 (3d Cir. 1972) (citing Kiefer-Stewart Co. v. Joseph E. Segram & Sons, Inc., 340 U.S. 75 S. Ct. 259 (1951)).  A parent company and its subsidiary were not considered to have conspired because they had never held themselves out as competitors.  Id.  However, in Joseph Ciccone & Sons, Inc. v. Eastern Indus., Inc., the federal district court found that two entities holding themselves out as competing could conspire to restrain trade: “[s]o long as ‘two or more legally distinct corporations’ conspire, a Section 1 violation can be made out.”  537 F. Supp. 623, 627 (E.D. Pa. 1982) (quoting Columbia Metal Culvert Co., Inc. v. Kaiser Aluminum & Chem. Corp., 579 F.2d 20, 33 (3d Cir. 1978)). 

Courts will examine the “in restraint of trade” requirement to outlaw only “unreasonable restraints.”  State Oil Co. v. Khan, 522 U.S. 3, 10, 118 S. Ct. 275, 279 (1997) (citing Arizona v. Maricopa County Med. Soc’y, 457 […]

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