Our Florida Antitrust Litigation Attorneys Take Cases Across the Nation
We are proud to hold one of the top commercial litigation practices in the country.
Antitrust laws go back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and are intended to combat the potential danger of unchecked corporate monopolization of a particular market. The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 and Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914 laid the groundwork for antitrust litigation by outlawing all insider agreements between competing companies that would stifle trade.
Businesses who engage in these practices can do serious harm to struggling entities. Therefore, corporations who face antitrust accusations need a strong defense to put these claims to rest. Each antitrust lawyer at our firm has experience representing companies accused of violating antitrust laws. As a result, we can help businesses struggling against an unfairly competitive corporate landscape created by unlawful backroom deals.
What Constitutes Antitrust?
The chief antitrust offenses include the following:
- Price Fixing – Secret agreements between supposedly competing companies to set price ceilings and floors.
- Bid Rigging – Bids between firms supposedly competing for a contract when they have already decided who is going to get the contract.
- Customer Allocation – Agreements between companies to not compete for certain customer demographics or regions.
Major Antitrust Laws and How They Affect Business
The purpose of antitrust laws is to protect opportunity and the freedom to compete in business. Restraining trade, through price fixing or bid rigging, decreases the competitive nature of markets. At each level of business, antitrust laws typically apply, including areas of manufacturing, distributing, transportation and marketing.
The Sherman Antitrust Act was enacted by Congress in 1890. According to this Act, it is against the law to monopolize interstate commerce by restraining competition through anti-competitive actions. Additionally, it is a crime to conspire and contract in a way that unreasonably restrains foreign trade. This may take the form of customer allocation agreements, as well as bid-rigging and price-fixing.
While the Sherman Act is a federal statute, the Commerce Clause of the Constitution enables it to apply broadly, affecting businesses and transactions that deal in interstate commerce. Many states also have laws that forbid anti-competition at the local level.
According to the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914, businesses are prohibited from:
- Price discrimination
- Tying, or requiring a purchaser to buy another separate product from the seller
- Sales conditioned on a purchaser or lessee not engaging with a competitor
Finally, the Federal Trade Commission Act is a civil statute that created a commission to police unfair competition methods. The Federal Trade Commission Act oversees interstate commerce.
Government Antitrust Investigation May Lead to Civil or Criminal Charges
Private and civil antitrust litigation usually involves cases that either alleges a single company improperly conducted itself, or two or more entities colluded, entering an anticompetitive agreement. Often, a class of affected consumers or customers brings legal charges. An example of a single company engaging in monopolistic conduct may be price discrimination. Two or more entities may price-fix or bid-rig.
When the government investigates or enforces an antitrust allegation, it may result in a civil or criminal proceeding. Civil enforcement usually includes investigating company conduct and potentially fining them for their conduct. The company may also be required to change its prohibited conduct. A criminal investigation typically centers around price-fixing and cartels. These investigations may result in steep penalties.
How a Florida Antitrust Litigation Attorney Can Assist in Your Case
An attorney may assist a client through major regulations required with mergers and acquisitions. Merger advice, or merger control provides a way for attorneys to support clients as they change their businesses. Because mergers often result in a greater share of the market, they can eliminate competition and risk conduct that may be deemed monopolistic.
Criminal antitrust cases involve high stakes. There is a potential for individual exposure. Public companies may plead guilty in order to avoid trial. Attorneys will produce materials as requested and counsel clients on defensive strategies. If possible, they may advise on plea arrangements.
Often, for a civil government investigation into alleged antitrust violations, an attorney will negotiate with the government. This may include working to narrow the alleged categories of violations and limiting the reach of discovery. Typically, an attorney will either negotiate or defend the client before an administrative law judge or in court.
When major corporations breach antitrust laws, it is always at the expense of everyday consumers and small businesses. Illegal antitrust activities stifle the market’s natural ability to foster innovation, regulate business practices and keep prices low.
Our law firm has experience assisting a wide variety of corporate entities throughout our decades of experience, including:
- Lenders and insurers
- Small businesses and entrepreneurs
- Large corporations
- Developers and contractors
- Individual plaintiffs
Attorneys for Antitrust Disputes and Litigation
As most small businesses cannot compete with collaborating antitrust violators, taking legal action is the only recourse capable of curbing such practices. Fraudulent corporations invest a lot of money in protecting their antitrust violations, so be sure that you work with a law firm with the resources and expertise to take on a major corporation.
If you face antitrust violations, you need a firm experienced with multinational corporate defense. We have handled a number of cases involving a range of business disputes. For example, our past cases include tax fraud, money laundering, extortion, importing/exporting and environmental torts. Additionally, we routinely provide companies with confidential investigations to ensure compliance with state, federal and international law.
We have offices in Florida, and we handle cases across the nation. In addition, many of our cases have taken us overseas. Do not hesitate to get in touch with an antitrust lawyer if you need an experienced firm to resolve your case.
In addition to reaching us online, our office can be contacted by phone at 305-476-7400.