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California Motor Transp. Co. v. Trucking Unlimited, 404 U.S. 508 (1972)

California Motor Transport Co. v. Trucking Unlimited

No. 70-92

Argued November 10, 1971

Decided January 13, 1972

404 U.S. 508


Respondent highway carriers filed this civil action under § 4 of the Clayton Act for injunctive relief and damages against petitioner highway carriers charging that petitioners conspired to monopolize the transportation of goods by instituting state and federal proceedings to resist and defeat applications by respondents to acquire, transfer, or register operating rights. Respondents alleged that the purpose of the conspiracy was

"putting their competitors . . . out of business, of weakening such competitors, of destroying, eliminating and weakening existing and potential competition, and of monopolizing the highway common carrier business in California and elsewhere,"

and deterring respondents from having free and unlimited access to the agencies and the courts. The District Court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a cause of action, but the Court of Appeals reversed.

Held: While any carrier has the right of access to administrative agencies and courts to defeat applications of competitors for certificates as highway carriers, and its purpose to eliminate an applicant as a competitor may be implicit in such opposition, its First Amendment rights are not immunized from regulation when they are used as an integral part of conduct violative of the antitrust laws. If the allegations that petitioners combined to harass and deter respondents from having "free and unlimited access" to agencies and courts, and to defeat that right by massive, concerted, and purposeful group activities are established as facts, a violation of the antitrust laws will have been demonstrated, and it is immaterial that the means used in violation may be lawful. Pp. 404 U. S. 509-516.

432 F.2d 755, affirmed and remanded for trial.

DOUGLAS, J., wrote the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J., and WHITE, MARSHALL, and BLACKMUN, JJ., joined. STEWART, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, in which BRENNAN, J., joined, post, p. 404 U. S. 516. POWELL and REHNQUIST, JJ., took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

Page 404 U. S. 509

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