Leh v. General Petroleum Corp. - 382 U.S. 54 (1965)
U.S. Supreme Court
Leh v. General Petroleum Corp., 382 U.S. 54 (1965)
Leh v. General Petroleum Corp.
Argued October 11, 1965
Decided November 8, 1965
382 U.S. 54
Petitioners' private antitrust suit against seven gasoline producers was dismissed as untimely, and not entitled to the benefit of § 5(b) of the Clayton Act, which provides for tolling the statute of limitations during the pendency of an antitrust suit brought by the United States where the private action is "based in whole or in part on any matter complained of" in the government suit. The Court of Appeals, upholding the District Court, held that the statute of limitations was not suspended because there were different overt acts charged, and different conspiracies, occurring at different times between different parties.
1. Petitioners' action here was based in part on matters complained of in the government suit, and the § 5 (b) tolling provision was therefore applicable. Minnesota Mining & Mfg. Co. v. New Jersey Wood Finishing Co., 381 U. S. 311, followed. Pp 382 U. S. 58-65.
(a) There was substantial identity of parties, six of the seven defendants here being defendants also in the government suit. Pp. 382 U. S. 63-64.
(b) Though there was not complete overlap in the time periods of the two conspiracies alleged, and though the geographic areas covered were not coterminous (the southern California area involved in this action being only a part of the Pacific States area with which the Government's suit was concerned), these disparities are without legal significance. P. 382 U. S. 64.
2. In general, the applicability of § 5(b) is determined by a comparison of the two complaints on their face, and is not based on proof of the allegations made therein. Pp. 382 U. S. 65-66.
330 F.2d 288 reversed.