Case Note -The United States vs. Hilton Hotel Corporation

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United States of America, Plaintiff-appellee, v. Hilton Hotels Corporation et al., Defendants, western International Hotels Company, Defendant-appellant Facts The case of The United States vs. Hilton Hotel Corporation focuses on the inherent actions of the Hilton Head Corporation. The Hilton head corporation was accused of violating the Sherman Act of 1980 which was formulated to ban monopolistic practices among organizations and to protect the inherent opportunity of free trade among organizations (Epstein, 2009). Hilton Head Corporation was accused of violating this act based on the actions of the organizations heads of staff and lesser employees in Portland, Oregon. Operators of various entities in the city which included Hotel operators, restaurants as well as owners of Supply chain companies gathered in an effort to attract business conventions to the city. Financing for this endeavor included contributions that were to be submitted by members of the formed group. Contributions were based on predetermined amounts. Hilton Head , as a apart of the agreement among the group ruled that those entities that participated would receive preferential treatment and those that did not would be boycotted. The basis for the case served upon violation of the Sherman Act and its principles. The Sherman Act of 1980, in relation to those involved, was formed as a law for Antitrust. Under the act, free uninhibited competition is protected as a rule of trade. The Hilton Head International Hotel Company was accused of hindering free trade as the agreement among Appellant and others would inhibit free competition as those entities of hotel supply that did not participate would be boycotted. The act also covers any attempt of monopolization that could occur due to agreements made by organizations. Throughout the case the apparent evidence where trade restraint occurred without a reasonable doubt were difficult to discover based on the evidence. An important part of the case was also the Hotels intention. If the hotel intentionally formed alliances with other businesses with an intention other than the initial presented by the companies’ boards, then the firm could be found guilty under the basis of the Sherman Act. Coercion and Scope of employment also play a key role in the case as supplier involved participated due to wanting to maintain relationships that were conducive to a profitable business, thus the appearance of being coerced. Employees also go on the record, during trial, of saying to various suppliers that they should participate so that they would not lose large amounts of business. This evidence which came in the form of testimony by employee’s proved to be invalid due to directions given by heads of the Hilton Corporation to not participate in eth boycott and continue ordering from those that do not participate in the mulit-operator agreement. A direct agent of the Appellant was noted on record to have reported to suppliers about the loss of business which brought about the question of employers being held liable for the actions of employees under the Sherman Act of 1980. Issue Should the employer be held liable for the actions of an employee held under the Sherman Act of 1980 that were against corporate policy and not authorized by the employer?

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