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A Robinson-Patman Act Claim Succeeds at Trial

Posted by : Matthew Wild | On : May 15, 2009

On April 27, 2009, a district judge ruled in favor of a Robinson-Patman Act plaintiff and granted injunctive relief.  Feesers, Inc. v. Michael Foods, Inc., 2009 WL 1138126 (M.D. Penn. Apr. 27, 2009).  On remand after the Third Circuit (498 F.3d 206 (3d Cir. 2007)) reversed summary judgment in favor of the defendants Michael Foods (the seller) and Sodexho (the favored purchaser), the district court held after trial that plaintiff demonstrated competitive injury because it competed with Sodexho for the same institutional customers and that Sodexho received prices that were “massive[ly]” lower than plaintiffs.  The court rejected defendants’ meeting competition defense because Sodexho never provide Michael Foods with competing offers nor did Michael Foods investigate the same.  The court also held Sodexho liable for knowingly inducing price discrimination.  This case should remind practitioners that the Robinson-Patman Act is alive and well.  Clients should exercise caution before offering discounts to competing customers and carefully document the basis for their meeting competition defense.

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