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MAIER-SCHULE GMC v. GENERAL MOTORS CORP.

December 31, 1991

MAIER-SCHULE GMC, INC., PLAINTIFF,
v.
GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION (GMC TRUCK & BUS GROUP), VOLVO WHITE TRUCK CORPORATION, VOLVO GM HEAVY TRUCK CORPORATION, BUFFALO TRUCK SALES & SERVICE, INC., TAIGE BERGGREN, KENNETH KACZMAREK, RICHARD B. GURLEY, NICHOLAS BODNAR AND THOMAS B. BOWEN, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Skretny, District Judge.

DECISION AND ORDER

INTRODUCTION

Now before this Court is the plaintiff Maier Schule's ("plaintiff") motion for partial summary judgment against defendants General Motors Corporation ("GM") and Volvo GM Heavy Truck Corporation ("VGM") (collectively referred to as "the defendants") as to the Robinson-Patman Act claims contained in Count One of the Complaint ("Count One"). Also before this Court are the cross-motions for partial summary judgment of GM and VGM, similarly as to those portions of Count One.*fn1

This Decision and Order supersedes a previous Decision and Order filed with the Clerk of the Court on August 1, 1991.

This Court has jurisdiction over this lawsuit pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and through exercise of its pendent jurisdiction.*fn2

Before it went out of business in 1990, plaintiff operated a GM truck dealership in Cheektowaga, New York; plaintiff was an authorized dealer for Class 8 GM Brigadier model ("Brigadier") trucks. Prior to and during 1987, plaintiff was one of four dealers which supplied Brigadier trucks to Ryder Automotive Carrier Division ("Ryder"). In the several years before 1987, plaintiff's sales of Brigadier trucks to Ryder constituted a significant portion of plaintiff's business. However, in 1987 plaintiff sold no Brigadier trucks to Ryder.

In Count One of the Complaint seeking declaratory and injunctive relief and damages, the plaintiff alleges that the defendants violated § 2 of the Clayton Act, as amended by the Robinson-Patman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 13 ("§ 13").*fn3 Plaintiff alleges that beginning in 1987, GM implemented and enforced a discriminatory fleet discount policy with respect to dealer sales of Brigadier trucks to Ryder. Plaintiff further alleges that because GM denied plaintiff the same discount offered to plaintiff's competitor dealers, plaintiff lost Ryder as a customer and consequently went out of business.

With respect to VGM, plaintiff alleges that VGM is a joint venture between GM and Volvo-White Truck Corporation created to continue the manufacture and market of Brigadier trucks in place of GM through an exclusive dealership after December 31, 1987. Plaintiff claims that before manufacturing Brigadier trucks, VGM competed with Schule as a dealer of Brigadier trucks manufactured by GM, and as a dealer, helped engineer and receive discounts not made available to the plaintiff. In any event, plaintiff alleges that VGM participated in enforcing the alleged discriminatory discounts in 1987 and beyond.

In support of their cross-motions, the defendants advance several arguments. Initially, the defendants argue that this Court must dismiss the Robinson-Patman Act portions of Count One because plaintiff cannot show that it purchased any trucks from the defendants during the time of the alleged price discrimination and, therefore, that the plaintiff has failed to establish a prima facie Robinson-Patman Act violation. The defendants also argue that the plaintiff has failed to establish other elements of its prima facie Robinson-Patman Act claim and that, nonetheless, they administered no discriminatory discounts. Finally, GM moves to strike the affidavits of Nelson Schule and F. James Kane, Esq.

In support of its motion, the plaintiff has submitted the affidavit of Nelson Schule ("Schule"); the affidavit of James Kane, Esq. with exhibits ("Kane"); a legal memorandum ("Plaintiff Memo."); a reply memorandum in response to GM ("Reply to GM"); a reply memorandum in response to VGM ("Reply to VGM"); a letter brief dated January 9, 1991 ("Plaintiff Letter Brief"); and statements of material fact.

In support of its cross-motion, GM has submitted a legal memorandum ("GM Memo."); a letter brief dated February 7, 1991 ("GM Letter Brief"); the affidavit of Thomas Wiswall, Esq. with exhibits ("Wiswall"); the affidavit of Lawrence E. Bradford ("Bradford"); the affidavit of James R. Rossow ("Rossow"); several other evidentiary affidavits; and statements of material fact.

In support of its cross-motion, VGM has submitted a legal memorandum ("VGM Memo."); a first supplemental legal memorandum ("VGM 1st Supp. Memo"); a second supplemental legal memorandum ("VGM 2d Supp. Memo."); the affidavit of Deborah Karalunas, Esq. with an exhibit; and statements of material fact.

This Court has considered all these submissions and oral argument held on February 26, 1991.

Conclusion: For the reasons set forth below, this Court finds that the plaintiff fails to establish a prima facie Robinson-Patman Act violation and therefore grants the defendants' cross-motions for partial summary judgment as ...


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