Friday, December 6, 2013

Timberlane Lumber Co. v. Bank of America case brief

Timberlane Lumber Co. v. Bank of America case brief summary
549 F.2d 597 (1976)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Plaintiffs appealed an order of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, which dismissed one plaintiff's antitrust suit alleging violations of the Sherman Act,15 U.S.C.S. § 1 et seq., under the act of state doctrine and dismissed the remaining plaintiffs' diversity tort suit on the ground of forum non conveniens.

CASE FACTS
One plaintiff sued defendants alleging violations of Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C.S. § 1 et seq. The suit involved application of American antitrust laws to activities in another country, including actions of foreign government officials. The district court dismissed the action under the act of state doctrine and for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Three plaintiffs brought a diversity tort action against defendants, which the district court dismissed on the ground of forum non conveniens. Plaintiffs appealed.

DISCUSSION

  • The court ruled that summary judgment was inappropriate since there were issues of material fact to be resolved. 
  • The court concluded the district court erred in dismissing the antitrust suit since it was clear the act of state doctrine did not require dismissal. 
  • There were numerous elements to be weighed in this type of antitrust suit. 
  • The district court had found only that the restraint involved did not produce a direct and substantial effect on American foreign commerce. 
  • That holding did not satisfy any of the required inquiries.

CONCLUSION
The court reversed the dismissal of one plaintiff's antitrust suit, holding that the act of state doctrine did not require dismissal of the action. The court vacated and remanded the dismissal of the remaining plaintiffs' tort suit, holding that since the antitrust suit was revived, the district court should re-evaluate its previous ruling.

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