FTC v. Cement Institute

333 U.S. 683 (1948)


P charged D with an unfair method of competition in violation of § 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act. It was alleged that Ds had restrained and hindered competition in the sale and distribution of cement by means of a combination among themselves. This system resulted in the quotation of identical terms of sale and identical prices for cement by the respondents at any given point in the United States. Resting upon its findings, P ordered that Ds cease and desist from 'carrying out any planned common course of action, understanding, agreement, combination, or conspiracy' to do a number of things. While the proceedings were still pending before P, respondent Marquette (D) asked P to disqualify itself from passing upon the issues involved. D charged that P had previously prejudged the issues, was 'prejudiced and biased against the Portland cement industry generally,' and that the industry and D, in particular, could not receive a fair hearing from the Commission. After hearing oral argument, P refused to disqualify itself. This contention was also urged and rejected in the Circuit Court of Appeals one year before that court reviewed the merits of P's order. D based his allegations on reports and testimony given by members of P before congressional committees and made it clear that, long before the filing of this complaint, P were of the opinion that the operation of the multiple basing point system, as they had studied it, was the equivalent of a price-fixing restraint of trade in violation of the Sherman Act.