Court of Appeals unanimously affirms $15 million antitrust verdict
August 5, 2003
On July 17, 2003, the Texarkana Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed NPR's $15 million verdict against The Coca-Cola Company, Coca-Cola Enterprises and several other Coca-Cola entities ("Coke"). NPR had previously filed suit on behalf of several local bottling companies against Coke for engaging in unfair and uncompetitive business practices through the use of "Calendar Marketing Agreements" or "CMAs." The local bottling companies alleged that local retailers were forced to enter into CMAs with Coke in order to sell Coke products. However, the CMAs limited the retailers ability to sell and market the local bottler's products.
NPR challenged Coke's conduct under the Texas Free Enterprise and Antitrust Act. After a six-week jury trial, the Jury found that Coke had violated the Texas Act by engaging in an unreasonable restraint of trade, monopolization, a conspiracy to monopolize and by interfering with the local bottler's existing and prospective business relationships. The Jury also found that Coke's violations of the law were willful or flagrant.
The trial court subsequently entered an injunction against Coke. In its injunction, the trial court ordered Coke to refrain from engaging in several specific types of conduct in violation of the Texas Act for a period of seven years.
Chief Justice Morris wrote the unanimous opinion from the Court of Appeals.