Far East Conference v. United States
342 U.S. 570 (1952)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Far East Conference v. United States, 342 U.S. 570 (1952)

Far East Conference v. United States

No. 15, Misc.

Argued January 30, 1952

Decided March 10, 1952

342 U.S. 570

Syllabus

The United States brought this suit in the District Court to enjoin alleged violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act. The defendants were the Far East Conference, a voluntary association, and its constituent members, steamship companies engaged in "outbound Far East trade." The agreement under which the Conference operated was approved by the predecessor of the Federal Maritime Board, exercising authority under the Shipping Act of 1916, as amended. Under this agreement, the Conference established a dual system of rates, whereby shippers who agreed to use exclusively bottoms of Conference members paid one rate, while those who did not so bind themselves paid a fixed higher rate. This dual system of rates constituted the gravamen of the Government's suit.

Held:

1. The case is initially within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal Maritime Board. United States Navigation Co. v. Cunard S.S. Co.,284 U. S. 474. Pp. 342 U. S. 573-576.

(a) A different result from that reached in the Cunard case is not required by the fact that there, a private shipper invoked the Antitrust Acts, whereas here it is the Government. P. 342 U. S. 576.

(b) The United States is a "person" who under § 22 of the Shipping Act may file a complaint with the Federal Maritime Board. P. 576.

2. Rather than order the case retained on the District Court docket pending action by the Board, this Court orders dismissal of the proceeding brought in the District Court. Pp. 342 U. S. 576-577.

94 F.Supp. 900 reversed.

In a suit brought by the United States to enjoin alleged violations of the Sherman Act, the District Court denied the defendants' motion to dismiss. 94 F.Supp. 900. This Court granted certiorari. 342 U.S. 811. Reversed, p. 342 U. S. 577.

Page 342 U. S. 571

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