SW Legal Educational Publishing

Buyers of Products Alleged to Be Sold in Vertical Price Fixing Scheme Have Standing to Sue
Description Appeals court reversed the trial court decision to dismiss a suit brought by farmers against American Cyanamid, which sold products through dealers to farmers. The dealers got rebates from the maker if they sold the product for more than the suggested resale price. The farmers, as direct purchasers, had standing to sue for their claim of vertical price fixing.
Topic Antitrust
Key Words Vertical Price Fixing; Standing
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts For several years, American Cyanamid (AC) had rebate programs for its independent dealers around the country. The dealers would get a rebate on sales only if they sold the products at or above the resale price suggested by AC, which most dealers did. A group of farmers sued AC, claiming antitrust violations for vertical price fixing. The district court dismissed the suit, holding that one of the dealers, as a purchaser from AC, had to be a party to the suit for there to possibly be a valid claim. The farmers appealed.
Decision Reversed. Plaintiffs correctly assert that they are direct purchasers of a product alleged to be involved in a vertical price-fixing scheme. As such, they have standing to bring a claim under the Sherman and Clayton Acts. If they were indirect purchasers they would not have standing, but that is not the case here. The farmers have the right to sue AC; the dealers do not have to be involved in the litigation.
Citation Lowell v. American Cyanamid Co., 177 F.3d 1228 (11th Cir., 1999)

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