Federal Trade Commission v. Universal-Rundle Corp.

387 U.S. 244 (1967)


Rundle (P) was involved in manufacturing china and cast iron plumbing fixtures. In 1960, the FTC issued a complaint against P for making sales to some customers at substantially higher prices than the prices at which P sells such products of like grade and quality to other purchasers, some of whom are engaged in competition with the less favored purchasers; as a violation of the Clayton Act. P denied the allegations and alleged that the price differentials were justified by costs or were made in good faith to meet competition. During hearings, P made no effort to sustain its affirmative defense, and the Commission found that P's truckload discounts constituted price discrimination because some of P's customers could not afford to purchase an entire truckload at once. It issued a cease and desist order. Then P finally spoke and asked that the Commission stay its order until it had time to investigate the rest of the industry for such practices. P submitted information and affidavits to show that what they did was an industry-wide practice. The Commission denied the stay. P instituted an appeal. The Court of Appeals ordered the Commission to conduct an investigation of the industry and ordered the stay; the evidentiary offering by P was sufficient to demonstrate that the refusal to grant the requested stay constituted a patent abuse of discretion. The FTC (D) appealed.