Case-Swayne Co., Inc. v. Sunkist Growers, Inc.Annotate this Case
389 U.S. 384 (1967)
U.S. Supreme Court
Case-Swayne Co., Inc. v. Sunkist Growers, Inc., 389 U.S. 384 (1967)
Case-Swayne Co., Inc. v. Sunkist Growers, Inc.
Argued October 18-19, 1967
Decided December 18, 1967
389 U.S. 384
Petitioner brought a treble damage Clayton Act suit for alleged violations by respondent of §§ 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act. The District Court granted a directed verdict for respondent. The Court of Appeals reversed as to the § 2 complaint, but affirmed the dismissal of the § 1 charge, holding that Sunkist qualified as a cooperative organization under the Capper-Volstead Act, and thus could not be held for an intra-organizational conspiracy to restrain trade. Section 1 of that Act privileges collective activity in processing and marketing for "persons engaged in the production of agricultural products as farmers, planters, ranchmen, dairymen, nut or fruit growers. . . ." Sunkist, which controls approximately 70% of the oranges grown in California and Arizona, and approximately 67% of the "product" oranges (used for processing), is composed of about 12,000 citrus growers, who are organized into 160 local associations, of which 80% are cooperative associations in which all members are growers. However, about 15% of the local associations, called "agency associations," are private corporations or partnerships owning and operating packing houses for profit. They have marketing contracts with growers to handle fruit for cost plus a fixed fee. All the local associations participate in the control and policy making of Sunkist.
Held: Respondent is not entitled to assert the Capper-Volstead Act as a defense to the suit based on § 1 of the Sherman Act, as it was not the intention of Congress to allow an organization with such nonproducer interests to avail itself of the exemption provided by that Act. Pp. 389 U. S. 390-396.
369 F.2d 449, reversed and remanded.