Antitrust laws were enacted to promote free competition and stop business practices that monopolize a particular market or restrain free trade. Unfair business practices, monopolization, and mergers and acquisitions are often the subjects of antitrust litigation. Common allegations include rigging bids, group boycotts, market allocation agreements among competitors, tying agreements, unfair price fixing, and other forms of collusion. At Klapper & Fass, our commercial litigation lawyers can help businesses in New York and beyond bring or defend against these types of allegations.Protecting Your Interests under Antitrust Laws
Both state and federal antitrust laws cover activities that affect commerce. The federal laws, such as the Sherman Act, the Clayton Act, and the Federal Trade Commission Act, apply to any activities that affect interstate commerce, while state laws like the Donnelly Act in New York apply to any activities that affect a certain state. The Donnelly Act is found in New York's General Business Law sections 340-347.
Under the Donnelly Act, the state Attorney General can bring an action against corporations or individuals. However, private businesses or individuals can also bring antitrust litigation in order to obtain injunctions and treble damages. Although the Donnelly Act does mirror federal law in certain ways, it is not entirely the same.
Price fixing, for example, is an antitrust violation in which businesses agree among themselves to fix the price of a product or service. This results in inflated prices for consumers. Bid rigging is one form of illegal price fixing. Many public institutions buy goods and services under competitive bidding procedures. If potential bidders make agreements about which ones will bid for particular contracts or what prices they will offer, this is bid rigging.
When competitors agree they will not compete with respect to particular customers, products, or geographic regions, these are market allocation agreements. They are illegal at every level of distribution. For example, if competitors decide who can sell to particular types of customers or split up geographic regions and quote intentionally high prices to customers in geographic regions assigned to a competitor, this is anticompetitive market division.
Tying agreements are arrangements where a company makes the purchase of one good or service conditional on the purchase of a second good or service. This type of arrangement can be anticompetitive if the company has enough market power because it hurts competitors that sell the second good or service and forces consumers to buy something they may not want from the seller.
Group boycotts occur when two or more competitors in a particular market will not do business with a particular individual or company. While a certain company may choose not to do business with another company, agreements between competitors are anti-competitive because they may prevent new competitors from coming into the market or disadvantage other competitors. Often, the goal of such arrangements is to implement a price fixing agreement.Seek Guidance from a New York Lawyer During Litigation
If you anticipate being involved in antitrust litigation or another business dispute, you should consult an experienced New York attorney. At Klapper & Fass, we are experienced litigators with a strong understanding of business needs. We maintain offices in White Plains and Manhattan, serving all five boroughs in New York City. We also provide legal services in Westchester, Dutchess, Nassau, Orange, Rockland, and Suffolk Counties, as well as in other states such as New Jersey and Connecticut. Contact our office at 914.287.6466 or via our online form.