United States v. E. C. Knight Company

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United States v. E. C. Knight Company by Melvin Fuller
Syllabus
United States v. E. C. Knight Co., 156 U.S. 1 (1895), also known as the "'Sugar Trust Case,'" was a United States Supreme Court case that limited the government's power to control monopolies. The case, which was the first heard by the Supreme Court concerning the Sherman Antitrust Act, was argued on October 24, 1894 and the decision was issued on January 21, 1895. — Excerpted from United States v. E. C. Knight Co. on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
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United States Supreme Court

156 U.S. 1

UNITED STATES  v.  E. C. KNIGHT COMPANY

It was further averred that the four defendants last named were independently engaged in the manufacture and sale of sugar until or about March 4, 1892; that the product of their refineries amounted to 33 per cent. of the sugar refined in the United States; that they were competitors with the American Sugar Refining Company; that the products of their several refineries were distributed among the several states of the United States, and the all the companies were engaged in trade or commerce with the several states and with foreign nations; that the American Sugar Refining Company had, on or prior to March 4, 1892, obtained the control of all the sugar refineries of the United States with the exception of the Revere of Boston and the refineries of the four defendants above mentioned; that the Revere produced annually about 2 per cent. of the total amount of sugar refined.

The bill then alleged that, in order that the American Sugar Refining Company might obtain complete control of the price of sugar in the United States, that company, and John E. Searles, Jr., acting for it, entered into an unlawful and fraudulent scheme to purchase the stock, machinery, and real estate of the other four corporations defendant, by which they attempted to control all the sugar refineries for the purpose of restraining the trade thereof with other states as theretofore carried on independently by said defendants; that in pursuance of this scheme, on or about March 4, 1892, Searles entered into a contract with the defendant Knight Company and individual stockholders named for the purchase of all the stock of that company, and subsequently delivered to the defendants therefor in exchange shares of the American Sugar Refining Company; that on or about the same date Searles entered into a similar contract with the Spreckels Company and individual stockholders, and with the Franklin Company and stockholders, and with the Delaware Sugar House and stockholders. It was further averred that the American Sugar Refining Company monopolized the manufacture and sale of refined sugar in the United States, and controlled the price of sugar; that in making the contracts, Searles and the American Sugar Refining Company combined and conspired with the other defendants to restrain trade and commerce in refined sugar among the several states and foreign nations, and that the said contracts were made with the intent to enable the American Sugar Refining Company to restrain the sale of refined sugar in Pennsylvania and among the several states, and to increase the regular price at which refined sugar was sold, and thereby to exact and secure large sums of money from the state of Pennsylvania, and from the other states of the United States, and from all other purchasers; and that the same was unlawful, and contrary to the said act.

The bill called for answers under oath, and prayed:

'(1) That all and each of the said unlawful agreements made and entered into by and between the said defendants on or about the 4th day of March, 1892, shall be delivered up, canceled, and declared to be void; and that the said defendants the American Sugar Refining Company and John E. Searles, Jr., be ordered to deliver to the other said defendants respectively the shares of stock received by them in performance of the said contracts; and that the other said defendants be ordered to deliver to the said defendants the American Sugar Refining Company and John E. Searles, Jr., the shares of stock received by them respectively in performance of the said contracts.

'(2) That an injunction issue preliminary until the final determination of this cause, and perpetual thereafter, preventing and restraining the said defendants from the further performance of the terms and conditions of the said unlawful agreements.

'(3) That an injunction may issue preventing and restraining the said defendants from further and continued violations of the said act of congress approved July 2, 1890.

'(4) Such other and further relief as equity and justice may require in the premises.'

Notes[edit]

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).