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STATE OF ILLINOIS v. ASSOCIATED MILK PRODUCERS

November 9, 1972

STATE OF ILLINOIS ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
ASSOCIATED MILK PRODUCERS, INC., ET AL., DEFENDANT.



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

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

This cause comes on defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint.

This is an Antitrust action instituted under Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act (15 U.S.C. § 1 & 2) and Section 16 of the Clayton Act (15 U.S.C. § 26). The plaintiff is the State of Illinois, its departments, divisions, agencies, counties, municipalities, townships, and political subdivisions organized under the authority of the State, which have in the past and will continue in the future in the course of their operations, either for themselves, the public institutions and agencies, or otherwise, to purchase or otherwise pay for "Fluid Milk Product"*fn1 and other processed milk products within the area of the relevant market.*fn2

The plaintiff State, by its Attorney General, also brings this suit as a class action pursuant to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The plaintiff's claim is allegedly typical of those to be asserted for the class, consisting of all counties, municipalities, townships, and political subdivisions including the various school districts and other institutions within the state supported by public funds, which have in the past and will continue in the future to purchase and pay for Fluid Milk Product and other processed milk products, within the area of the relevant market (Chicago Regional Marketing Area).

The Complaint in essence charges that, by reason of the marketing programs of the cooperatives, the sale of milk in the Chicago Federal milk marketing area has been monopolized. Plaintiff requests only injunctive relief, including the dissolution of the agricultural cooperative defendants.

The defendants in support of their motion to dismiss the Complaint contend:

  1.  The statutory grant of authority to the
    Illinois Attorney General makes it clear that
    he has no authority to maintain this antitrust
    injunction suit in Federal Court.
  2.  The 1969 Amendments to the Illinois Antitrust
    Act were intended to limit the authority of the
    Illinois Attorney General, preventing him from
    maintaining injunctive actions in Federal
    Court.
  3.  The State is not the proper representative in
    Antitrust actions of the political subdivisions
    organized under the authority of the State.

This Court is not persuaded by the defendants' arguments and is of the opinion that the State of Illinois, as represented by its Attorney General is authorized to maintain in Federal Court this Antitrust suit seeking injunctive relief.

I.  The State of Illinois May Maintain This Federal
      Antitrust Action

Since a threat of injury to the State in its proprietary capacity as a result of Antitrust violations by the defendants is alleged, the State of Illinois is the real party in interest.*fn3 It is well settled that a State may maintain an action in Federal Court for injunctive relief to remedy an Antitrust violation which is injurious to the State's proprietary interest. Georgia v. Pennsylvania R. Co., 324 U.S. 439, 65 S.Ct. 716, 89 L.Ed. 1051 (1945). The Supreme Court of the United States has recently approved class action suits brought by a State as the real party in interest (as Illinois has brought the instant action) as definitely preferable in the Antitrust area to parens patriae actions. Hawaii v. Standard Oil Company of California, 405 U.S. 251, 266, 92 ...


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