Antitrust Class Action Attorneys
The antitrust laws of the United States have existed to protect free and fair markets for American businesses and consumers for more than 100 years. Specifically, the Sherman Act prohibits price-fixing and unfair competition practices such as the creation of a monopoly. These activities limit the ability for a free market to function properly.
Section 1 of the Sherman Act prohibits any contract, combination or conspiracy in restraint of trade or commerce. Section 2 makes it illegal to monopolize (or attempt to monopolize) any part of trade or commerce. What this means is that these sections prohibit “price-fixing” and the abuse of willful “monopoly power”.
Price-fixing practices include agreements among competitors to control prices or supplies of goods and services, allocating geographic markets, and rigging bids, thus eliminating consumer choice.
While monopoly power is not illegal if it is obtained through natural growth, business acumen, historic accident or the provision of superior goods and services, it is illegal for a business to actively acquire the exclusive control of a market supply.
The Sherman Act has been strengthened by the Clayton Act, the Robinson-Patman Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act, which address specific forms of anticompetitive conduct. These federal laws address the potential for restraints of trade and monopoly abuse in exclusive dealing arrangements, “tied” sales, price discrimination, mergers and acquisitions, and interlocking directorates. These laws may provide remedies for businesses and consumers harmed by illegal conduct arising from exclusive distribution or sales agreements, illegal tying of related products, vertical and horizontal mergers, refusals to deal, predatory pricing and territorial restrictions on sales.
Antitrust violations are investigated and prosecuted by both the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The DOJ has authority to pursue both civil and criminal enforcement proceedings. The FTC may pursue both civil and administrative enforcement proceedings. If convicted, a business and its officers may be subject to criminal and civil fines, prison terms, and injunctive relief.
Individuals and businesses harmed by antitrust violations have important and substantial private remedies under federal law. Under the Sherman Act and Clayton Act, a direct purchaser suffering antitrust injury from price-fixing, bid-rigging, market allocation, monopoly abuse, illegal tying and other anticompetitive actions can recover treble damages (three times actual damages), attorneys’ fees and costs of the litigation. In addition to treble damages, a victim of antitrust violations may be able to impose joint and several liability on each of the violators, For example, the victim of a price-fixing conspiracy can generally seek all of their damages from any one member of the conspiracy. These powerful remedies for antitrust victims illustrate the importance placed by United States antitrust laws on the protection of free markets.
The Indianapolis antitrust lawyers of Cohen & Malad, LLP have been successfully protecting the rights of victims of price-fixing and other antitrust violations for many years. Our Indianapolis attorneys represent small and mid-sized businesses, consumers and municipal entities in federal courts throughout the country, aggressively pursuing damages for price-fixing, bid-rigging and monopoly abuses by major corporations and local business alike. A sample of our work in antitrust class actions can be found on our Cohen Malad Resume.