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Antitrust laws - Information on the law about Antitrust

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Antitrust violations are "crimes" committed by business entities that injure both competing businesses and the consumer by artificially inflating or fixing prices.

Antitrust laws came into national prominence in the late nineteenth century with the rise of the giant industrial monopolies. Two types of monopolies, horizontal and vertical, were felt to be particularly harmful to competition. In a horizontal monopoly, a single entity owns all or an unreasonable percentage of the firms competing in the same business, such as all the telephone or oil companies. In a vertical monopoly, a single entity owns all or an unreasonable percentage of all levels of business within a single industry, for example, all the forests, logging firms, mills, printing plants, and newspapers.

Through the exercise of its power to regulate interstate commerce, Congress has enacted the most sweeping of antitrust regulations in the Sherman Antitrust Act. Because of the great size of the businesses engaged in antitrust or anti-competitive practices as well, the federal government has taken the lead in enforcing against these types of unfair business practices.

Most antitrust statutes are enforced in two ways: the state attorney general can sue on behalf of the state in order to correct the unfair practice, either by obtaining an injunction prohibiting the offensive practice or by ordering fines or other redress to be paid or otherwise addressed to the consumers; the other way is by a private right of action, whereby consumers themselves or competing businesses sue to recover for damages or injuries suffered as a result of the offending behavior. Some states permit civil charge only; some permit civil and criminal charges.

Table 1: Antitrust

State Code Section Private Action Statutes of Limitation Attorney's Fees
FEDERAL Tit. 15 § 15(a-b); 15 USCA §4 deals with jurisdiction of courts, duty of US Attny & procedure to bring fed. claim; 15 USCA §21 deals with enforcement provisions Yes; a person who is a foreign state may not recover an amount in excess of damages, the cost of the suit, including a reasonable attorney's fee §15(a)+(b) 4 yrs. 15 USCA §15b Yes; a person who is a foreign state may not recover an amount in excess of damages, the cost of the suit, including a reasonable attorney's fee §15(a) and (b)
ALABAMA 6-5-60 Yes Not specified No
ALASKA 45.50.562 to 596 Yes; attorney general may also be able to bring an action 45.50.580, 45.50.5+6 4 yrs., 45.50.588 Yes; restoration, injunction, treble damages, costs of suit; misdemeanor, civil penalty not more than $20,000 or 12 mos. prison, 45-50.576(a)
ARIZONA 44-1401 to 1416 Uniform State Antitrust Act Yes, 44-1408(A) 4 yrs.; Private action must be brought within 4 yrs. of the cause of action or one years after the conclusion of a timely action of the state 44-1410(B) Yes, 44-1408(B)
ARKANSAS 4-75-301, et seq. 45-75-304 through 307 were repealed by Act 2003 No. 1172 §3 No prerequisite; it is the duty of the attorney general to enforce the status 4-75-307 5 yrs., 4-75-322(1) Attorney general receives costs + attnys fees Act 1172 of 2003 §1
CALIFORNIA Bus. & Prof. §16700, et seq. Yes; attorney general may bring action on behalf of state 16750(a)+(c) 4 yrs., 16750.1 Yes, 16750(a)
COLORADO Unfair Practices Act, 6-2-101, et seq.; 6-4-101, et seq. Yes; attorney general may bring action on behalf of state 6-2-111 6 yrs. for criminal actions brought by attorney general; 4 yrs. for civil actions No, 6-2-111; 6-4-114(3)
CONNECTICUT Connecticut Anti-Trust Act: 35-24, et seq. Yes; attorney general also enforces 4 yrs. Yes
DELAWARE Anti-Trust Act: Tit. 6 §§2101, et seq. Yes; attorney general also enforces 3 yrs. Yes
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 28-4501, et seq.; 28-4511 Yes; corporation counsel power to enforce 4 yrs. Yes
FLORIDA 542.15, et seq. Yes; attorney general also enforces 1 yr. (plus period for attorney general action) Yes

Table 1: Antitrust—Continued

State Code Section Private Action Statutes of Limitation Attorney's Fees
GEORGIA 13-8-31, et seq. Unfair competition, restraint of trade for distributors, dealers, and their representatives doing business in Georgia of farm equipment and/or machinery Not specified Not specified
HAWAII 480-13, 20, 24 Yes; attorney general shall enforce criminal and civil provisions 4 yrs. Yes
IDAHO Idaho Competition Act: 48-101, et seq. Yes; attorney general also enforces 4 yrs. or within one year after cause of action by state concludes Yes
ILLINOIS Illinois Antitrust Act: Ch. 740 §10/1, et seq. Yes 4 yrs. Yes
INDIANA 24-1-1-1, et seq.; 24-1-2-1, et seq.; 24-1-3-1, et seq. Yes; attorney general power to enforce 5 yrs. Yes; treble damages, cost of suit
IOWA Iowa Competition Law: 553.1, et seq. Yes; state may also bring suit 4 yrs. Yes for individual plaintiff but not for state
KANSAS 50-101, et seq. Yes; attorney general and county attorney power to enforce 5 yrs. Yes
KENTUCKY 367.175, et seq. Yes 5 yrs. unless specified otherwise No
LOUISIANA 51.121, et seq. Yes; attorney general also enforces Not specified Yes
MAINE Tit. 10 §§1101, et seq. Yes; attorney general power to enforce Not specified Yes
MARYLAND Maryland Antitrust Act: Com. Law II §§11-201, et seq. Yes; attorney general power to enforce 4 yrs. Yes
MASSACHUSETTS Massachusetts Antitrust Act: Ch. 93 §§1, et seq. Yes; attorney general also enforces 4 yrs. Yes
MICHIGAN Michigan Antitrust Reform Act: 445.771, et seq. Yes; attorney general also enforces 4 yrs. Yes
MINNESOTA Minnesota Antitrust Law of 1971: 325D.49, et seq. Yes; attorney general also enforces 4 yrs. Yes
MISSISSIPPI 75-21-1, et seq. Yes; attorney general and district attorney per attorney general also enforce civil and criminal features of antitrust statutes Not specified No
MISSOURI Missouri Antitrust Act: 416.011, et seq. Yes; attorney general also enforces 4 yrs. Yes

Table 1: Antitrust—Continued

State Code Section Private Action Statutes of Limitation Attorney's Fees
MONTANA 30-14-201, et seq. Yes; injured person or the attorney general; Dept. of Commerce power to enforce Not specified Not specified
NEBRASKA 59-801, et seq. Yes; attorney general power to enforce Not specified Yes
NEVADA Nevada Unfair Trade Practice Act: 598A.010, et seq. Yes; attorney general power to enforce 4 yrs. Yes
NEW HAMPSHIRE 356:1, et seq. Yes; Dept. of Justice power to enforce 4 yrs. Yes
NEW JERSEY New Jersey Antitrust Act: 56:9-1, et seq. Yes; attorney general power to institute proceedings 4 yrs. Yes
NEW MEXICO New Mexico Antitrust Act: 57-1-1, et seq. Yes; attorney general power to enforce 4 yrs. for civil penalty (57-1-12); 3 yrs. for criminal penalty (57-1-6); cannot bring both civil and criminal (57-1-9) Yes
NEW YORK Gen. Bus. §340 ¶5., et seq. Yes; no prerequisite for administrative action but private party plaintiff must notify the attorney general 4 yrs. (suspended during pendency of federal action based in whole or in part on same matter) Yes
NORTH CAROLINA 75-1, et seq. Yes 4 yrs. Yes
NORTH DAKOTA 51-08.1-01, et seq. Yes; attorney general power to enforce 4 yrs. or 1 yr. after conclusion of action by state Yes
OHIO 1331:01, et seq. Yes; attorney general power to enforce 4 yrs., 1331.12(B) No
OKLAHOMA Oklahoma Antitrust Reform Act Tit. 79 §§201, et seq. Yes; attorney general power to enforce 4 yrs. Yes
OREGON 646.705, et seq. Yes; attorney general power to enforce 4 yrs. or within 1 yr. after conclusion of any proceeding based on the same matter Yes; individual and state win reasonable attorney's fees, expert's fees, and investigative fees
PENNSYLVANIA Unfair Trade Practices & Consumer Protection Law: Tit. 73 §§201, et seq. Yes; attorney general power to enforce Not specified May be awarded at judicial discretion but no statutory right
RHODE ISLAND Rhode Island Antitrust Act: 6-36-1, et seq. Yes, but private party plaintiff must notify attorney general of his complaint and file proof of service 4 yrs. Yes; treble damages, reasonable costs and attorney's fees

Table 1: Antitrust—Continued

State Code Section Private Action Statutes of Limitation Attorney's Fees
SOUTH CAROLINA South Carolina Unfair Trade Practices Act: 39-5-10, et seq. Yes; attorney general power to enforce; however, 3 days before instituting legal proceedings, must give person chance to present reason why action should not be instituted 3 yrs. Yes
SOUTH DAKOTA 37-1-3.1, et seq. Yes; state's attorney power to enforce and must immediately notify the attorney general; the attorney general shall aid in prosecution 4 yrs. or 1 yr. after conclusion of civil or equitable action brought by state, whichever is later Yes
TENNESSEE 47-25-101, et seq. Yes; attorney general and reporter power to institute criminal proceedings Not specified No
TEXAS Texas Fair Enterprise & Antitrust Act of 1983: Bus. & Com. §§15.01, et seq. Yes; attorney general power to enforce 4 yrs. or 1 yr. after conclusion of action based on the same act Yes
UTAH Utah Antitrust Act: 76-10-911, et seq. Yes attorney general power to enforce 4 yrs. or 1 yr. after conclusion of action Yes; and cost of suit
VERMONT Tit. 9 §2465 Yes Not specified Yes
VIRGINIA Virginia Antitrust Act: 59.1-9.1, et seq. Yes; attorney general power to enforce 4 yrs. or 1 yr. after conclusion of action Yes
WASHINGTON 19.86.010, et seq. Yes; attorney general power to enforce 4 yrs., except when attorney general brings action in whole or in part; in matter of private action, the private action's statute of limitations is suspended Yes
WEST VIRGINIA West Virginia Antitrust Act: 47-18-1, et seq. Yes; attorney general power to enforce 4 yrs., unless one civil action is brought, then any other is suspended during the first's pendency and one year after Yes; filing fees, and reasonable expenses of discovery and document reproduction
WISCONSIN 133.01, et seq. Yes; dept. of justice or district attorney power to enforce 6 yrs. Statute begins running upon discovery of a cause of action by an aggrieved party. Other actions have suspended statute of limitations during pendency of any civil or criminal action and for one year afterward Yes; and cost of suit

Table 1: Antitrust—Continued

State Code Section Private Action Statutes of Limitation Attorney's Fees
WYOMING 40-4-101, et seq. Yes; attorney general and county attorney power to enforce Not specified Not specified
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