Federal and state antitrust laws are designed to protect and promote fair competition among businesses. The laws in this area prohibit price fixing and other forms of anticompetitive conduct. Competition between businesses benefits consumers by ensuring lower prices and new and better products, and encourages businesses to find better ways to produce and promote their products.
Consumers lose the benefits of competition when business competitors agree to:
- Fix prices
- Rig bids
- Allocate (divide up) customers
Private consumers have to pay artificially high prices when businesses make such anticompetitive deals with each other.
Under federal law, businesses or individuals who purchased goods or services directly from the company that violated the antitrust laws are typically entitled to payment of damages. However, since most products pass through the hands of distributors, wholesalers, or retailers before reaching the consumer, most claims for damages under the federal laws can only be brought by businesses, not private consumers who paid inflated prices.
On the other hand, many state antitrust laws, including California’s, allow consumers and other end-users of products to recover damages caused by anticompetitive conduct, even if they did not purchase the goods directly from the business that violated the antitrust laws. Damages may include payment of 3 times the actual loss to the consumer (also called "treble damages”), plus court costs and attorney’s fees.
Attorneys at Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff have played prominent roles in many antitrust actions on behalf of both businesses and consumers. To contact an antitrust attorney at Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff, please fill out and submit the contact form on this page for a free and confidential case evaluation, or call us toll-free at (888) 285-3333.