Summary: S.429 — 102nd Congress (1991-1992)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Conference report filed in House (06/22/1992)

Consumer Protection Against Price-Fixing Act of 1991 - Amends the Sherman Act to set forth evidentiary standards for price-fixing actions. Requires the court to allow the issue of concerted action to fix prices to be decided by the trier of fact if there is sufficient evidence from which a trier of fact could reasonably conclude that: (1) the supplier of a good or service received from a competitor of a reseller an express or reasonably implied request or demand that the supplier take steps to curtail or eliminate price competition; and (2) such request or demand was the major reason that the supplier terminated sales or supplies to the reseller, or refused to continue to supply the reseller.

Specifies that for purposes of this Act: (1) no request or demand shall be deemed to constitute the major cause of such termination or refusal to continue to supply unless, at a minimum, there is evidence that persons expressly or impliedly acquiesced to the request or demand, or threatened or took actions (in addition to the termination or refusal to continue to supply at issue in the case) to curtail or eliminate price competition by the claimant or others engaged in the resale of goods or services; and (2) a decision by a person to alter, wholly or in part, its distribution policy through adoption of exclusive distributor outlets or vertical location, customer, or territorial clauses shall not constitute an action to curtail or eliminate price competition.

Directs the court, in making its determination with respect to the existence of a contract, combination, or conspiracy, to consider evidence in rebuttal supporting any actual, bona fide non-price business justification for such termination or refusal to continue to supply.

Prohibits the court from allowing the trier of fact to consider whether an individual and a competitor engaged in concerted action to set prices in violation of this Act if the court determines that the trier of fact could only find concerted action by making implausible inferences.

Provides that the fact that a supplier and a reseller entered into an agreement to establish the resale price of a good or service shall be sufficient to constitute a price fixing violation, except when the agreement is to establish the maximum resale price of a good or service. Specifies that: (1) such maximum resale price agreements shall not be deemed illegal per se, but shall be judged based on their reasonableness, taking into account all relevant factors affecting competition in the relevant market for the good or service that is the subject of the agreement; and (2) an agreement between the seller and the purchaser of a good or service to terminate another purchaser as a dealer or to refuse to continue to supply such other purchaser violates this Act if such purchaser's discount pricing was the major cause of such termination or refusal to continue to supply, regardless of whether or not a specific price or price level is agreed upon.