FTC V. STANDARD OIL CO., 355 U. S. 396 (1958)

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U.S. Supreme Court

FTC v. Standard Oil Co., 355 U.S. 396 (1958)

Federal Trade Commission v. Standard Oil Co.

No. 24

Argued November 14, 18, 1957

Decided January 27, 1958

355 U.S. 396


Holding that § 2(b) of the Clayton Act, as amended by the Robinson-Patman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 13(b), affords a seller a complete defense to a charge of price discrimination if its lower price was "made in good faith to meet a lawful and equally low price of a competitor," this Court remanded this case to the Federal Trade Commission for findings as to whether respondent so acted in selling gasoline to four comparatively large "jobber" customers in Detroit at a lower price than it sold like gasoline to many comparatively small service station customers in the same area. Subsequently, without denying that respondent's lower prices were made to meet the equally low prices of its competitors, the Commission found that respondent's lower prices were made pursuant to a price system, rather than being "the result of departures from a nondiscriminatory price scale," and, therefore, were not made "in good faith," and it again ordered respondent to cease and desist from this practice. The Court of Appeals set aside the order on the ground that such a finding was not supported by the record.

Held: the case turns on a factual issue, decided by the Court of Appeals upon a fair assessment of the record, and its judgment is affirmed. Pp. 355 U. S. 397-404.

(a) Whether, on the record as a whole, there is substantial evidence to support agency findings is a question which Congress has placed in the keeping of the Court of Appeals, and this Court will intervene only when the standard appears to have been misapprehended or grossly misapplied. Universal Camera Corp. v. Labor Board, 340 U. S. 474. Pp. 355 U. S. 400-401.

(b) In determining that respondent's prices to these "jobbers" were reduced as a response to individual competitive situations, rather than pursuant to a pricing system, which is solely a question of fact, the Court of Appeals made a "fair assessment" of the record in this case. Pp. 355 U. S. 401-404.

233 F.2d 649 affirmed.

Page 355 U. S. 397

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