Friday, January 13, 2006
On Tuesday, January 10, SCOTUS announced its decision in Volvo Trucks v Reeder-Simco, reversing a judgment against Volvo that had been affirmed by the 8th Circuit. The Court in a 7-2 decision, written by Justice Ginsburg, ruled that Reeder, the complaining dealer, had failed to show that (1) there was price discrimination among final purchasers of the product and (2) the concessions harmed competition in favor of the winning bidder. The majority emphasized that R-P's primary concern is with harms to interbrand competition. The decision suggested the act has limited application to intrabrand competition at issue in this case. Furthermore, the majority found that state franchise provided a remedy for Reeder in this case.
Justices Stevens and Thomas were the two dissenters. In an opinion written by Justice Stevens, the dissent stated that the majority was using a narrow transaction based notion of competition that ignored the text and the purpose of the Robinson-Patman Act to protect small retailers.