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By Patti Waldmeir in Washington
Published: March 1 2006 02:00 | Last updated: March 1 2006 02:00
The US Supreme Court yesterday reaffirmed the right of joint ventures to set prices without violating US price-fixing laws, overturning a ruling vigorously criticised by US businesses and the Bush administration.
The case was one of several being watched by US businesses, in a court term heavy with business cases. “As a single entity, a joint venture, like any other firm, must have the discretion to determine the prices of products that it sells,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for a unanimous court.
The ruling threw out a lawsuit that accused Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron of using a pair of joint ventures to increase the price of petrol to service station owners. A federal appeals court in San Francisco had let the lawsuit go forward. Many businesses had lobbied the Supreme Court to shield joint ventures from price-fixing claims.

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