Kay Electric Cooperative v. City of Newkirk, No. 10-6214 (10th Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
The City of Newkirk and Kay Electric Cooperative both provide electricity to Oklahoma consumers. "When a city acts as a market participant it generally has to play by the same rules as everyone else. It can't abuse its monopoly power or conspire to suppress competition. Except sometimes it can. If the city can show that its parent state authorized it to upend normal competition [. . . ] the city enjoys immunity from federal antitrust liability. The problem for the City of Newkirk in this case is that the state has done no such thing." Kay sued Newkirk alleging that the City engaged in unlawful tying and attempted monopolization in violation of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. 1,2. The district court refused to allow the case to proceed, granting Newkirk's motion to dismiss after it found the City "immune" from liability as a matter of law. Upon review, the Tenth Circuit found that the state did not authorize Newkirk to enter the local electricity market as it did in this case. The Court reversed the district court and remanded the case for further proceedings.