Trinko and Re-Grounding the Refusal to Deal Doctrine

  • Adam Candeub


Verizon Communications Inc. v. Law Offices of Curtis V. Trinko, LLP (“Trinko”), the most important Supreme Court antitrust review of the refusal to deal antitrust doctrine in twenty years, pitted a local incumbent monopolist telephone company (“ILEC”), Verizon, against a class of competitive local exchange companies (“CLECs”), the new entrants to local telephone service spawned by the 1996 Telecommunications Act (“1996 Act” or “Telecom Act”), and their customers. The Supreme Court rejected the CLECs’ claim that Verizon violated the antitrust laws by failing to provide interconnection services as the Act required. The CLECs based their claim upon two antitrust doctrines: “refusal to deal” and “essential facilities,” both of which require monopolists to provide vital vertical inputs to their downstream competitors. Here, the input was interconnection or “access” on a wholesale level to Verizon’s telephone network that its competitors needed in order to provide retail phone service. The Court ruled that if a legal mechanism exists, as with the 1996 Act, to compel access to the putative monopolist’s resource, the refusal to deal doctrine has nothing to remedy and, therefore, plaintiffs did not state an antitrust claim.
How to Cite
Candeub, Adam. 2005. “Trinko and Re-Grounding the Refusal to Deal Doctrine”. University of Pittsburgh Law Review 66 (4).