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Court stops price bias claim.

Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virgin Islands

THE 3RD CIRCUIT ON JAN. 7 OVERTURNED a district court injunction requiring a food manufacturer to offer the same prices to its customers nationwide. In deciding the long-running case of Feesers, Inc. v. Michael Foods, Inc., the appeals court found that Michael Foods had not violated the Robinson-Patman Act, which bans price discrimination against competing companies.

In the suit, Feesers, a Pennsylvania-based regional food distributor, claimed that it competes with Sodexho Inc., a multinational food service management company, and therefore the Robinson-Patman Act required Michael Foods to sell products to both companies at the same price. Feesers said that Sodexho, a much larger company, was able to negotiate substantially lower prices than Michael's.

During the 2009 trial, the district court awarded no damages to Feesers, saying it had failed to prove an injury during the decade of alleged price discrimination. But the district court issued an injunction barring Michael Foods from charging different prices to Sodexho and Feesers. Both Sodexho and Michael Foods appealed, and the 3rd Circuit found for them, holding that there was no violation of the Robinson-Patman Act because Feesers and Sodexho operate at different levels of the food service market and therefore are not competing purchasers.

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Title Annotation:3RD CIRCUIT
Author:Swanton, Mary
Date:Mar 1, 2010
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