Discovery in a Robinson-Patman Action

Discovery in a Robinson-Patman Act, as in most civil actions, is limited to the following discovery methods:

The foregoing list of discovery techniques will then be used to obtain evidence of the existence of price discrimination, as well as discrimination in the various advertising and other promotional programs of the defendant; the dollar amount per unit of the discrimination; evidence about any claimed defenses (such as alleged cost justification or alleged bona fide meeting of competition); data processing records to prove the volume of sales and the amount of discrimination.

Discovery will attempt to review all of the advertising allowance, slotting allowance, and other promotional programs of the defendants, to show that such programs are making excessive payments to the favored customers, so that the excess is actually an unlawful price rebate, and that the programs themselves are not made functionally or proportionally available to the plaintiff, as the disfavored purchaser. Depositions are generally very effective in getting to the bottom line of the defendant's policy. It should only take 3-4 depositions to get the defendant's discriminatory policies.

Once the discovery is over, the parties put the evidence together and can be expected to make various motions. The defendant will generally make a motion for summary judgment requesting the Court to throw out the whole case for alleged lack of evidence; and the plaintiff (less frequently) will move for partial summary judgment to establish that the defendant does in fact unlawfully discriminate in price or service and that all that remains is to prove the amount of the damages and the lack of any meritor ious defense.

After the court resolved these motions, the case will either be dismissed or go to trial.

Return to Main Menu for RPAMall.

Copyright © 1997 by Carl E. Person