United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, E.D
October 16, 1969
ABC GREAT STATES, INC., ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
GLOBE TICKET COMPANY ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robson, District Judge.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' OBJECTIONS TO PLAINTIFFS'
VENUE DISCOVERY MOTIONS
In response to motions to dismiss for improper venue filed by
six corporate defendants and eleven individual defendants,*fn1
plaintiffs filed written interrogatories and a notice of
depositions with an attached motion for production of documents.
Defendants in turn have filed objections to the plaintiffs' venue
discovery and motions to limit its time, place, and scope.*fn2
have two major objections:
1. That the plaintiffs' requests for information
going back to January 1, 1960, are too broad
because the relevant time period for venue purposes
is the date of the commencement of the lawsuit
2. That requests for information concerning meetings
between the various defendants in Illinois and
other conspiratorial evidence are irrelevant
because the special antitrust venue statutes,
15 U.S.C. § 15 and 22, are exclusive and relate
only to business activities (or alternatively that
even under the general venue statute,
28 U.S.C. § 1391, only business activities are
also have objected to plaintiffs' requests
for information as to activities in the state of Illinois in
general and have moved that discovery be restricted to the
Northern District of Illinois. Finally, subsidiaries of two
to whom proper venue is conceded have objected to
discovery requests relating to intra-corporate relationships with
the parent aimed at disclosing the operation of the parent and
the subsidiaries as a single entity.
This court is of the opinion that all of plaintiffs' discovery
requests objected to by the defendants are relevant and proper.
Plaintiffs properly may seek information going back to January 1,
1960, as part of their venue discovery since it is more in
keeping with congressional purpose in the antitrust field to
construe venue provisions as relating to the time when the cause
of action arose. Eastland Construction Co. v. Keasbey & Mattison
Co., 358 F.2d 777 (9th Cir. 1966); Adams Dairy Co. v. National
Dairy Products Corp., et al., 293 F. Supp. 1135 (W.D.Mo. 1968).
Otherwise, a defendant might cause injury through business
activities or conduct in one jurisdiction and then cease its
activity, placing the burden on the plaintiff to catch him.
Rather, congress intended to relieve antitrust plaintiffs of the
burden of resorting to distant forums for the redress of wrongs
done in their place of business. E.g., Abrams v. Bendix Home
Appliances, Inc., 96 F. Supp. 3 (S.D.N.Y. 1951). Thus this court
has concluded that venue discovery as to the time the cause of
action arose is permissible here.
Further, it is clear that the congressional purpose in enacting
special antitrust venue statutes was to broaden venue in that
area as it then existed and to facilitate the prosecution of
antitrust actions. E.g., Eastland Construction Co. v. Keasbey &
Mattison Co., supra; B.J. Semel Associates, Inc. v. United
Fireworks Mfg. Co., Inc., 122 U.S.App.D.C. 402, 355 F.2d 827
(1965); Hoffman Motors Corp. v. Alfa Romeo S.p.A., 244 F. Supp. 70
(S.D.N.Y. 1965). In Pure Oil Co. v. Suarez, 384 U.S. 202, 86
S.Ct. 1394, 16 L.Ed.2d 474 (1966), the Supreme Court held that,
absent any legislative intent to constrict venue, a special venue
statute should be read together with the general venue statutes,
28 U.S.C. § 1391 and 1392. The court limited the application of
Fourco Glass Co. v. Transmirra Products Corp., 353 U.S. 222, 77
S.Ct. 787, 1 L.Ed.2d 786 (1957), to its facts and made it clear
that broad venue was to be the rule not the exception. Pure Oil
indicates then that the general venue statutes must be held to
supplement 15 U.S.C. § 15 and 22 since no specific legislative
intent to the contrary can be found. See, e.g., Adams Dairy Co.
v. National Dairy Products Corp., supra; Philadelphia Housing
Authority v. American Radiator & Standard Sanitary Corp.,
291 F. Supp. 252 (E.D.Pa. 1968); Hawkins
v. National Basketball Association, 288 F. Supp. 614 (W.D.Pa.
1968); Hoffman Motors Corp. v. Alfa Romeo S.p.A., supra.
Thus, this court is of the opinion that Section 1391 is
applicable in the present case, and under its terms venue
discovery as to where the claim arose is proper. On this basis,
conspiratorial information as to both individual and corporate
defendants is relevant to the venue issue — indeed it is the
heart of the plaintiffs' claims and cannot be foreclosed at this
stage given the applicability of Section 1391.
Plaintiffs also properly seek information as to activity in the
state of Illinois in general. As discussed above, the special
antitrust venue statutes are supplemented by general venue
statutes. Therefore, section 1392(a), which provides in substance
that activities in one judicial district of a state will suffice
for venue in other districts of that state, is applicable to this
action and permits discovery as to the entire state. Philadelphia
Housing Authority v. American Radiator & Standard Sanitary Corp.,
supra, 291 F. Supp. at 258.
Finally, plaintiffs' intra-corporate discovery requests are
proper. Defendants seek to limit the request to sales, meetings,
and similar intra-corporate activities in the state of Illinois.
The law is clear, however, that the operation of a parent and its
subsidiaries as a single entity without regard to separate
corporate structure will subject all to venue in the jurisdiction
where venue as to the parent is proper. Frazier, III v. Alabama
Motor Club, Inc., 349 F.2d 456 (5th Cir. 1965); Gallen v. Howard
D. Johnson Co., Inc., 271 F. Supp. 680 (S.D.N.Y. 1967); S.O.S. Co.
v. Bolta Co., 117 F. Supp. 59 (N.D.Ill. 1953). It is relevant to
this determination to delve into the enterprise as a whole and
not merely as to the state of Illinois. Again, at this stage this
information cannot be foreclosed, for relevance is the key
It is therefore ordered that the objections of defendants James
Arcus, Jr., William Gillenwater, John Conway, J. Edward Ludes,
E.W. Taylor, Thomas Leonard, William Patton, Frank Rugg, John B.
Elliott, Clifford Elliott, Globe Ticket Company, Globe Ticket
Company of New England, Southwest Globe Ticket Company, Globe
Ticket Company, Inc. (Florida), Globe Ticket Company, No. 2,
Arcus Ticket Company, Arcus-Simplex-Brown, Inc., and National
Ticket Company to plaintiffs' venue interrogatories be, and they
are hereby overruled.
It is further ordered that the motions of the above-named
defendants to limit the time, place, and scope of venue discovery
be, and they are hereby denied.