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7th Circuit upholds antitrust suit dismissal

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a decision by a U.S. District Court in Indiana which threw out a case involving Marathon Petroleum Company and its dealers because the dealers couldn't prove the company violated the Sherman Act.

The Circuit Court upheld the U.S. District Court, Southern Division of Indiana, Indianapolis Division's dismissal of John D. Sherman's complaint in John D. Sherman and S&D Holdings, Inc., on their own behalf and that of all others similarly situated v. Marathon Petroleum Company LLC and Speedway SuperAmerica LLC, No. 07-3543.

Sherman filed the suit against Marathon under Section 1 of the Sherman Act, charging the company with tying the processing of credit card sales to the Marathon franchise and also conspiring with banks to fix the price of processing these transactions.

Marathon dealers had to agree to process Marathon credit cards through a processing service designated by the company; the requirement only applies to Marathon's cards. Dealers are free to use other processing services for other credit cards, but would have to duplicate the system provided by Marathon. Marathon's processing system also can be used for other credit cards, so dealers aren't required to purchase other equipment.

Citing previous caselaw in their decision, the 7th Circuit found flaws in the plaintiffs' charge of illegal tying.

"The additional cost of using multiple card processing systems is not a penalty imposed by Marathon to force the use of its system, but an economy that flows directly from Marathon's offering its own credit card and credit card processing service," wrote Judge Richard Posner. "To call this tying would be like saying that a manufacturer of automobiles who sells tires with his cars is engaged in tying because, although the buyer is free to buy tires from someone else, he is unlikely to do so, having paid for the tires supplied by the car's manufacturer."

Sherman's kickback complaint makes no sense, wrote the judge, because if Marathon is forcing its dealers to pay a lot of money for processing credit card sales, this would only hurt firms that offer credit cards. Judge Posner reasoned that fee would be passed along to the customer in a higher gas price, which will reduce the demand for gas and the credit cards.

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  1. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  2. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  3. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

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  5. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

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