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CHICAGO RIDGE THEATRE L.P. v. M & R AMUSEMENT CORP

March 16, 1990

CHICAGO RIDGE THEATRE LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
M & R AMUSEMENT CORPORATION, et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: DUFF

 BRIAN BARNETT DUFF, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 This case comes to this court following a remand from the Court of Appeals in Chicago Ridge Theater Ltd. v. M & R Amusement, 855 F.2d 465 (7th Cir. 1988). In the wake of that decision, the defendants have renewed their motions for judgment under Rule 41(b), Fed.R.Civ.Pro. *fn1" In opposing these motions, Chicago Ridge Theater Limited Partnership and F & F Management Company have asked for a new trial on the claims presented in their amended complaint.

 The Court of Appeals reviewed much of the procedural history of this case in Chicago Ridge. This court will assume that the reader is familiar with that decision. Further, the court understands that decision as allowing the court to decide the present motions. See Chicago Ridge, 855 F.2d at 471 (reversing and remanding "for a new trial or other proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion").

 The court will address the defendants' motions first. In considering these motions, the court

 
need not view the evidence [presented at a trial of this matter] in the light most favorable to the plaintiffs but instead may weigh the evidence and assess the credibility of the witnesses. The burden of persuasion is on the plaintiffs; if at the close of the plaintiffs' case the court is not persuaded by the plaintiffs' submissions, the court should find for the defendants.

 Pursuant to Rule 41(b), the court finds these facts: *fn2"

 1. The plaintiffs allege violations of § 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1 (1982). They invoke the jurisdiction of the court pursuant to §§ 4 and 16 of the Clayton Act, codified at id., §§ 15 and 26, and 28 U.S.C. § 1337 (1982). See CR at 466.

 2. The plaintiffs are:

 a. Chicago Ridge Theater Limited Partnership, the lessee and operator of a movie theater known as the Chicago Ridge Theater. *fn3" The theater is located at 95th Street and Ridgeland Avenue, Chicago Ridge, Illinois. See id.

 b. F & F, an affiliate of the Partnership. F & F performed certain management functions for the Partnership, including obtaining licenses for exhibition of films at the Chicago Ridge Theater. See id.; Stip. para. 2.

 3. Morton and Robert Fink were partners in the Partnership and president and vice-president, respectively, of F & F. They were managing agents of both plaintiffs. See id. at P3.

 4. The defendants are:

 a. Evergreen Theater Corporation, which owned and operated the Evergreen Theater, located at 95th Street and Western Avenue in Evergreen Park, Illinois. See CR at 466.

 b. M & R Amusement Corporation, which has its principal place of business in Skokie, Illinois. See Stip. at para. 8.

 c. Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. Columbia was in the business of producing copyrighted feature motion pictures and distributing feature motion pictures (its own and those of other producers) to theaters in the United States. See id. at P9.

 d. Embassy Pictures, formerly Avco Embassy Pictures Corporation. Embassy was in the same business as Columbia. *fn4" See id. at P10.

 e. Orion Pictures Distribution Corporation, formerly Filmways Pictures, Inc. Orion was in the business of distributing independently produced feature motion pictures to theaters in the United States. See id. at P11.

 f. Paramount Pictures Corporation. Paramount was in the same business as Columbia. See id. at P12.

 g. United Artists Corporation. United Artists was in the same business as Orion, although United Artists financed some of the features which it distributed. See id. at P13.

 h. Universal Film Exchanges, Inc. Universal was in the same business as Columbia. See id. at P14.

 5. The Distributor Defendants each maintained a branch office in the Chicago metropolitan area. The purpose of these offices was to license and distribute films to local theaters for exhibition. See id.

 7. Most films earn the bulk of their revenues during their "first run," their exhibition immediately after release. Distributors license a first run on a percentage of the exhibitor's gross receipts. License fees are known as "film rentals." The terms of a film license agreement between an exhibitor and a distributor for a first run frequently provide for a priority of run, called a "clearance," over one or more theaters in the area. The Evergreen Theater obtained clearances over the ...


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