Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Title Insurance Companies Lose Bid to Fix Prices

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Title Insurance Companies Lose Bid to Fix Prices

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Five title insurance companies lost a Supreme Court bid Monday for an exemption that would let them fix prices for real estate title searches.

The court, without comment, turned down the companies' contention that title searches are part of the insurance business and therefore are exempt from federal antitrust law.

The Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint in 1985 accusing five of the nation's largest title insurance companies of illegally fixing prices for title searches.

Title insurance protects property buyers against losses if an ownership claim is made on property after a search of the title background has failed to find it.

In 1992, the Supreme Court limited the antitrust exemptions granted for title searches. Those exemptions had been sought under a doctrine allowing businesses to engage in normally anti-competitive behavior if states authorize and supervise it.

The 1992 ruling denied the companies the right to agree on prices for title searches they conduct in Montana, Wisconsin, Connecticut and Arizona.

In the case acted on Monday, the companies sought exemptions for title searches in those states based on a different legal ground. …

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