Wilcox Development Company v. First Interstate Bank Of Oregon

605 F. Supp. 592 (1985)


Ps alleged that Ds had agreed with other banks to raise, fix and maintain the 'prime' interest rate at an artificial and anticompetitive level. Ps alleged a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1, by agreeing to set their prime interest rates at an artificial, anticompetitive level. Ps also claimed that Ds had told them that they were receiving the minimum lending rate available to the most creditworthy customer when Ds were charging some customers a lower lending rate. What was missing from the case was proof of an explicit agreement wherein Ds conspired to raise the rates. At trial expert evidence established that the prime rate was a national rate determined by national economic conditions. It was also established that if a bank were to diverge from the national rate, it would suffer severe economic hardship. Ds also established that they independently determined its prime rate and did not share that process with other banks. The jury gave the verdict to Ps.  D moved for judgment notwithstanding the verdict or a new trial.