In a 7-2 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned an appeals court ruling that could have dramatically changed manufacturers' discounting policies to independent resellers, particularly in competitive bid situations.
In 2000, heavy-duty truck dealer Reeder-Simco GMC Inc., Fort Smith, AR, sued Volvo Trucks North America Inc. claiming the manufacturer gave other Volvo dealerships deeper discounts, resulting in price discrimination illegal under the Robinson-Patman Act (RPA). The truck dealer alleged its sales and profits declined because other Volvo dealers received favorable discounts, which directed sales away from Reeder. A jury agreed, and awarded the dealer $4.1 million. An appeals court upheld the verdict.