Lorain Journal Co. v. United States
342 U.S. 143 (1951)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Lorain Journal Co. v. United States, 342 U.S. 143 (1951)

Lorain Journal Co. v. United States

No. 26

Argued October 17, 1951

Decided December 11, 1951

342 U.S. 143

Syllabus

For 15 years, a newspaper publisher enjoyed a substantial monopoly of the mass dissemination of local and national news and advertising in its community, and 99% coverage of the community's families. After the establishment of a competing radio station, the publisher refused to accept local advertising from those who advertised over the radio station. The purpose of the publisher was to destroy the broadcasting company.

Held: the publisher was engaged in an attempt to monopolize interstate commerce, in violation of § 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act, and was properly enjoined under § 4 from continuing the attempt. Pp. 342 U. S. 144-157.

1. The conduct of the publisher was an attempt to monopolize interstate commerce. Pp. 342 U. S. 149-152.

(a) The distribution within the community of the news and advertising transmitted there in interstate commerce for the sole purpose of immediate and profitable reproduction and distribution to the reading public is an inseparable part of the flow of the interstate commerce involved. P. 342 U. S. 152.

(b) Without the protection of competition at the outlets of the flow of interstate commerce, the protection of its earlier stages is of little worth. P. 342 U. S. 152.

2. The publisher's attempt to regain its monopoly of interstate commerce by forcing advertisers to boycott a competing radio station violated § 2 of the Sherman Act. Pp. 342 U. S. 152-155.

(a) In order to establish this violation of § 2, it was not necessary to show that the publisher's attempt to monopolize was successful. Pp. 342 U. S. 153-154.

(b) A lone newspaper, already enjoying a substantial monopoly in its area, violates the "attempt to monopolize" clause of § 2 when it uses its monopoly to destroy threatened competition. P. 342 U. S. 154.

(c) The right claimed by the publisher as a private business concern to select its customers and to refuse to accept advertisements from whomever it pleases is neither absolute nor exempt from regulation. Its exercise as a purposeful means of monopolizing interstate commerce is prohibited by the Sherman Act. P. 342 U. S. 155.

Page 342 U. S. 144

3. The injunction against the newspaper publisher's continuing to attempt to monopolize interstate commerce does not violate the First Amendment's guaranty of freedom of the press. Pp. 342 U. S. 155-156.

4. There is no obvious error in the form or substance of the decree of the District Court, and, in the circumstances of the case, this Court relies upon that court's retention of jurisdiction over the cause for whatever modification the decree may need in the light of the entire proceedings and of subsequent events. Pp. 342 U. S. 156-157.

92 F.Supp. 794, affirmed.

In a civil action brought by the United States under the Sherman Act, the District Court enjoined appellants from violation of the Act. 92 F.Supp. 794. A direct appeal to this Court was taken under the Expediting Act. Affirmed, p. 342 U. S. 157.

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