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George Van Camp & Sons Co. v. American Can Co., 278 U.S. 245 (1929)

George Van Camp & Sons Company v. American Can Company

No. 94

Argued December 5, 6, 1928

Decided January 2, 1929

278 U.S. 245


1. Petitioner and another company are severally engaged in the business of packing and selling food products in tin cans in interstate commerce. Respondent manufactures tin cans, sells them to petitioner and the other company, and leases them machines for sealing the cans. It sells to the other company at a discount of 20% below the announced standard prices at which it sells cans of the same kind to the petitioner; it charges the petitioner a fixed rental for the machines, but furnishes them to the other company free, and it discriminates in other respects. The effect of the discrimination is to substantially lessen competition, and its tendency is to create a monopoly in the line of interstate commerce in which petitioner and the other company are competitively engaged.

Held, that the discrimination violates § 2 of the Clayton Act, which denounces price discrimination between different purchasers

Page 278 U. S. 246

where its effect my be to substantially lessen competition or tend to create a monopoly "in any line of [interstate] commerce." P. 278 U. S. 253.

2. Where the language of a statute is clear and unambiguous, its meaning is not to be varied by resort to reports of congressional committees or other matters dehors. Id.

3. Exceptions to this general rule are rare, and deal with provision which, literally applied, would offend the moral sense, involve injustice, oppression, or absurdity, or lead to an unreasonable result plainly at variance with the policy of the statute as a whole. Id.

Response to questions certified by the circuit court of appeals touching a case in which the district court dismissed a bill to enjoin violations of the Clayton Act.

Page 278 U. S. 249

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