[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] heard oral arguments [transcript, PDF] Monday in the case of Leegin Creative Leather Products, Inc. v. PSKS, Inc. [Duke Law case backgrounder; merit briefs], 06-480 [docket], in which a clothing manufacturer requests the Court to overrule a 1911 Supreme Court decision, Dr. Miles Medical Co. v. John D. Park & Sons Co. [text] that held any minimum price agreement to be per se illegal and anti-competitive. In the present case, manufacturer Leegin ceased supplying goods to retailer PSKS after PSKS lowered its prices beneath the minimum set by the manufacturer. Leegin argued that such agreements foster competition among smaller retailers by preventing large retailers from setting extremely low and predatory prices. The trial court found that Leegin's actions violated the Sherman Antitrust Act [text] and awarded PSKS treble damages. The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] affirmed [opinion, PDF] the decision in favor of PSKS. Associate Justice Stephen Breyer [OYEZ profile] speculated that dropping the per se rule would raise prices, while Associate Justice Antonin Scalia [OYEZ profile] suggested that some consumers prefer to pay more in return for greater customer service. AP has more.
The Court also heard oral arguments [transcript, PDF] Monday in the case of Bowles v. Russell [Duke Law case backgrounder; merits briefs], 06-5306 [docket], in which the court will consider whether an appeals court has the authority to dismiss an appeal as untimely if the appeal was timely filed according to a district judge's order, which set an incorrect deadline. The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] that the timeline established in Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(6) [text, PDF] controlled the timeliness of the appeal notwithstanding the mistake in the district judge's order.