March 24, 2004

In its anti-binge drinking zeal, did the UW organize a cartel? The Capital Times reports:
A class action lawsuit was filed today in Dane County Circuit Court accusing 24 downtown Madison taverns and the Madison-Dane County Tavern League of conspiring to fix prices on beer and liquor.

The suit, filed by a Minneapolis law firm on behalf of three University of Wisconsin-Madison students, says taverns that agreed to eliminate weekend drink specials - a step strongly urged by Chancellor John Wiley - committed felony violations of both state and federal antitrust law, regardless of their intent. It also accuses UW-Madison of participating.

My colleague Peter Carstensen is quoted:
But Peter Carstensen, a professor at the UW-Madison Law School, said he was surprised nobody in the university's legal counsel office, nor at the City Attorney's Office, recognized there was a problem with the voluntary ban.

"The general rule of antitrust law is, competitors cannot agree about how they will compete. If that's what happened with these bars, then they're in serious trouble," Carstensen said.

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