This year witnessed the advance of a wide variety of antitrust and trade regulation theories, most of which met with little success. Of the antitrust cases, Continental Airlines waged a successful battle to eliminate carry-on baggage restrictions at Dulles Airport. Additionally, Maryland's price-setting scheme for liquor was not accorded state action immunity. On the other side of the ledger, another antitrust litigant failed to overcome the requirement that efforts to petition the government must be objectively baseless in order to meet the sham exception to the Noerr-Pennington doctrine. Difficulties in proving an antitrust injury and the intent element of a section conspiracy to monopolize claim ended another long-pitched battle over limited vermiculite resources. The Fourth Circuit treated an exclusive supply case with the same sort of back-of-the-hand treatment accorded most vertical restraint cases over the past ten years. Likewise, regardless of the statutory or regulatory scheme, dealership and franchise termination cases met with little success. Finally, while the malice requirement in the Virginia Business Conspiracy Act (the "Act") has become ingrained in Virginia jurisprudence as the legal malice standard, courts are finding other ways to dispose of these claims. In doing so, courts have enunciated a clear and convincing evidence standard for cases under the Act.
Michael F. Urbanski, James R. Creekmore & Beth G. Hungate-Noland,
Annual Survey of Virginia Law: Antitrust and Trade Regulation Law,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol35/iss3/4