Maurice Silverman

Antitrust Lawyer

Maurice Silverman, 93, a retired lawyer in the antitrust division of the Justice Department, died of pneumonia July 20 at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring. He lived in Rockville.

Mr. Silverman, a native of Butler, Pa., earned a bachelor's degree and then a law degree in 1934 from the University of Michigan.

He came to Washington in 1938 and first worked as a lawyer with the Agriculture Department and the War Relocation Authority.

Most of his career was spent in the antitrust division of the Department of Justice. From 1948 until his retirement in 1974, Mr. Silverman administered the enforcement of the Paramount decrees, a group of antitrust judgments that prevented movie studios from owning or otherwise controlling the movie theaters that exhibited their product. Mr. Silverman reviewed thousands of movie industry transactions for compliance with the decrees.

He once referred in court to a particular provision of the judgments as being "the Magna Carta of the small [motion picture] exhibitor."

His success rate in court, litigating alone against some of the country's most celebrated private law firms, was nearly 100 percent. He was accorded numerous honors from the Justice Department and the National Association of Theatre Owners.

After Mr. Silverman retired in 1974, the movie studios sought to rescind the Paramount decrees, and the Justice Department initially indicated that it would not oppose the request. Victor Palmieri, the federal district judge with jurisdiction over the decrees, asked Mr. Silverman to review the studios' request as a friend of the court. When Mr. Silverman indicated that the studios' request was far too broad, the Justice Department, seeing the handwriting on the wall, rehired Mr. Silverman and adopted his position as the government's.

Mr. Silverman read widely and was an avid tennis player.

His marriage to Nancy Mach ended in divorce.

Survivors include a sister.