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RAITPORT v. COMMERCIAL BANKS LOCATED WITHIN THIS D

April 2, 1975

Eli Raitport, Plaintiff
v.
Commercial Banks Located Within This District As A Class, and Foundations Operating Investment Portfolios and Managed Directly or Indirectly By Above Said Banks as a Class, Defendants


Werker, D.J.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: WERKER

Memorandum Decision and Order

WERKER, D.J.

 Plaintiff, pro se, brings this antitrust treble damage action against a purported class of all commercial banks in this district and all foundations operating investment portfolios managed by these banks. First National City Bank ("Citibank") is named as the representative party of the class of defendant banks and foundations. Prior to answering the complaint, Citibank has moved for summary judgment upon the grounds of res judicata based on the opinion of Judge Knapp in Raitport v. Chase Manhattan Capital Corp., et al., 388 F. Supp. 1095 (S.D.N.Y. 1975), wherein Judge Knapp granted the summary judgment motions of all defendants in that action including FNCB Capital Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Citibank. For the reasons discussed below, Citibank's motion is granted.

 The allegations and theories upon which plaintiff seeks recovery are stated in his complaint as follows:

 
"(1) Plaintiff alleges that defendants have unlawfully refused to deal with him and restrained him from continuing and entering business as set forth below in violation of 15 USC 2;
 
(2) Plaintiff alleges that defendants have conspired to refuse to deal with him in violation of 15 USC 1 & 2.
 
(3) Plaintiff alleges that defendants have conspired to destroy investment banking industry for the goal of monopolizing the commercial banking industry in violation of 15 USC 1 & 2.
 
(4) Plaintiff alleges that defendants conspired on behalf of automotive, appliances, energy producing and food producing industries to monopolize in violation of 15 USC 1 & 2.
 
(5) Plaintiff alleges that defendants discriminate without justification against new manufacturing businesses in violation of 15 USC 13.
 
(6) Plaintiff alleges that defendants discriminate without justification against small manufacturing companies competing or attempting to compete against energy producing, automotive, appliances and container industries in violation of 15 USC 13."

 The plaintiff then proceeds to describe himself as an " inventor-entrepreneur" whose time and efforts are devoted to fighting such problems as inflation, safety and energy shortage. After describing the roles of " inventor-entrepreneurs" and commercial and investment banks in the American economic system, the plaintiff lists thirty-six (36) lines of products which would be manufactured by companies that he is attempting to organize and finance. According to the complaint, the defendants are involved in a "malicious conspiracy" to monopolize the automotive, major appliance, container manufacturing and energy producing industries. As part of this alleged conspiracy, the defendant banks and foundations have allegedly conspired and implemented policies to limit the financing of new companies, including those organized by the plaintiff, which would seek to be competitors of established companies in the automotive, appliance, container and energy producing industries. Because of the alleged conspiratorial conduct on the part of the defendants, the plaintiff claims that he has been damaged in excess of the amount of two billion ($2,000,000,000) dollars and asks that that amount be trebled, and for interests and costs.

 In the litigation before Judge Knapp, the plaintiff sued four lending institutions licensed by the Small Business Administration as Small Business Investment Corporations. His complaint alleged violations of the Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. § 631 et seq., the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, as amended, 15 U.S.C. § 681 et seq., the Economic Stabilization Act, 12 U.S.C. § 1904 (1973 Supp.), the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1 et seq., and the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1985. Judge Knapp concluded that none of the theories except the antitrust theory presented a claim upon which relief could be granted. 388 F. Supp. at 1097. As part of his antitrust theory in that case the plaintiff alleged that the defendants were engaged in an "unscrupulous conspiracy to help monopolize certain industries, i.e., to preclude establishment of new firms in [the] automotive field, in [the] appliance field, and [the] energy producing or energy conservation fields." At page 1099 of his opinion Judge Knapp concluded that:

 
Were the plaintiff able to show by competent evidence that the defendants were, in fact, "instrumental [in preventing] other financial institution [sic] from helping plaintiff", for the purpose of "[restraining] plaintiff from entering [the] trade of his choice", and that the defendants were "engaged in an unscrupulous conspiracy to . . . monopolize certain industries . . . to preclude establishment of new firms in [the] automotive, . . . appliance . . . and energy producing or energy conservation fields", he would be entitled to relief under 15 U.S.C. § 15.

 After extensive discovery by the plaintiff Judge Knapp found that plaintiff was unable to produce any evidence of conspiracy save for his assumption that the only explanation for the refusal to finance his companies must be the existence of an "unscrupulous" conspiracy. At most, plaintiff was able to show parallel business ...


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