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FIRESTONE TIRE & RUBBER CO. v. AMERICAN PRESIDENT

August 30, 1966

The Firestone Tire & Rubber Company, Inc. and Firestone Tire & Rubber Company of The Philippines, Plaintiff
v.
American President Lines, Ltd., et al., Defendant


Wyatt, District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: WYATT

WYATT, District Judge.

This is a motion by all defendants (except one) for a stay of proceedings herein (a) until final determination of a proceeding which (it is claimed) plaintiffs ought to institute before the Federal Maritime Commission (the "Commission"), or (b) until final determination of proceedings (No. 872) before the Commission which resulted in its order made July 28, 1965, now on review in the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

 The action here, commenced on March 18, 1966, is for treble damages under the Sherman and Clayton Acts (15 U.S.C. §§ 1 and following: 15 U.S.C. § 15).

 Plaintiffs are shippers of commodities to the Far East from ports of the United States. Defendants are the members of the Far East Conference, an association of shipping companies which establishes rates under agreements subject to approval by the Commission; Far East is itself a defendant also.

 The complaint alleges that from about 1953 defendants and Pacific Westbound Conference and its members conspired to restrain trade by eliminating competition in ocean carriage to the Far East. The members of Pacific Westbound are alleged to be common carriers serving the Far East from Pacific Coast ports of the United States. The members of Far East are alleged to have fixed rates for the carriage of goods to the Far East from Atlantic and Gulf ports of the United States. It is averred that carriers to the Far East from Atlantic and Gulf ports compete with carriers to the Far East from Pacific ports.

 The complaint alleges that in carrying out the conspiracy and with respect to rates to the Far East, defendants, among other things:

 
(a) agreed to make no changes in their rates as to certain commodities without the concurrence of Pacific Westbound;
 
(b) allocated certain commodities and the "rate fixing initiative" with respect thereto as between Far East and Pacific Westbound;
 
(c) agreed with Pacific Westbound that it (Pacific Westbound) would make no changes in rates for commodities as to which Far East had the "initiative" without the concurrence of Far East;
 
(d) agreed that Far East would make no changes in rates for commodities as to which Pacific Westbound had the "initiative" without the concurrence of Pacific Westbound;

 and made other agreements with respect to allocation of territory as between Far East and Pacific Westbound, etc.

 Plaintiffs aver that because of the conspiracy, they were forced to pay higher freight rates and so were damaged.

 On March 29, 1966, plaintiffs served on defendant Far East written interrogatories under Fed. R. Civ. P. 33.

 On April 7, 1966, defendants served notice of the present motion for a stay. Defendants ...


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