Nashville Milk Co. v. Carnation Co.
355 U.S. 373 (1958)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Nashville Milk Co. v. Carnation Co., 355 U.S. 373 (1958)

Nashville Milk Co. v. Carnation Co.

No. 67

Argued November 21, 1957

Decided January 20, 1958

355 U.S. 373

Syllabus

A private cause of action under §§ 4 and 16 of the Clayton Act, as amended, does not lie for sales at unreasonably low prices for the purpose of destroying competition or eliminating a competitor, which are forbidden only by § 3 of the Robinson-Patman Act. Pp. 355 U. S. 374-382.

(a) Sections 4 and 16 of the Clayton Act permit private actions only for injuries resulting from practices forbidden by the "antitrust laws," as defined in § 1 of that Act, and that definition, specifying certain Acts not including the Robinson-Patman Act, is exclusive. Pp. 355 U. S. 375-376.

(b) The Robinson-Patman Act shows on its face that § 3 does not amend the Clayton Act, but stands on its own footing and carries its own sanctions, which are penal in nature. Pp. 355 U. S. 376-380.

(c) Section 3 of the Robinson-Patman Act contains only penal sanctions for violation of its provisions, and, in the absence of a clear expression of congressional intent to the contrary, these sanctions should be considered exclusive, rather than supplemented by civil sanctions of a distinct statute. P. 355 U. S. 377.

(d) A different result is not required by the fact that there is a partial overlap between the price discrimination clauses of § 3 of the Robinson-Patman Act and those of § 2 of the Clayton Act, as amended by §1 of the Robinson-Patman Act. Pp. 355 U. S. 378-379.

(e) A different result is not required by the fact that the United States Code codifies § 3 of the Robinson-Patman Act as being among the "antitrust laws" embraced in § 1 of the Clayton Act, since there was a palpable error in the codification, and the underlying statutes must prevail. Pp. 355 U. S. 379-380.

(f) The conclusion here reached is supported by the legislative history of the Robinson-Patman Act. Pp. 355 U. S. 380-382.

238 F.2d 86, affirmed.

Page 355 U. S. 374

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