U.S. Supreme Court will hear Volvo Trucks appeal

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The U.S. Supreme Court will hear Volvo Trucks North America’s appeal of a dealer lawsuit that led to a $4 million jury verdict against the manufacturer.

Without comment, the court granted a writ of certiorari today, March 7, in the case of Volvo Trucks North America vs. Reeder-Simco GMC of Fort Smith, Ark.

The dealership sued Volvo in 2000, claiming the truck maker gave other dealerships deeper price discounts in a manner illegal under the federal Robinson-Patman Act, which prohibits certain forms of price discrimination in business transactions.

Volvo was trying to drive Reeder-Simco out of the Volvo business as part of its dealership consolidation strategy, Reeder-Simco argued.

The dealership won a jury award that was tripled, as the Robinson-Patman Act requires, to a sum of more than $4 million. Arguing that the decision represented an unreasonable expansion of the Robinson-Patman requirements, Volvo appealed to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the lower court’s verdict in July.

The Supreme Court’s decision to hear the appeal is good news for Volvo, because if the high court had declined it, the lower court’s judgment – and the precedent it set in federal court – would stand. Whether the court ultimately will side with Volvo or with the dealership remains to be seen.