• Recent Kansas and New York Court Rulings Highlight Continued Uncertainty Faced by Companies with Multistate Distribution Systems
  • June 11, 2012
  • Law Firm: Alston Bird LLP - Atlanta Office
  • In its landmark ruling in Leegin Creative Leather Products, Inc. v. PSKS, Inc., the U.S. Supreme Court overturned almost a century of federal antitrust jurisprudence by holding that resale price maintenance agreements are not illegal per se, but are subject to the balancing test of the rule of reason. While Leegin provided clarity at the federal level, approximately five years later, state law remains an evolving patchwork of differing standards. Indeed, two decisions in May by courts in Kansas and New York reached virtually opposite results under their respective laws. The Kansas Supreme Court adopted a strict reading of its antitrust law to find that resale price maintenance agreements are illegal per se, while the appellate division of the New York Supreme Court determined that nothing in its statutory law made such agreements illegal. For companies with distribution channels spanning multiple states, these rulings, discussed in this advisory, highlight the importance of staying attuned to the always-changing landscape of state distribution law to avoid unintended violations that could lead to state enforcement actions or civil litigation.