Antitrust and Competition Law
Antitrust and Competition Law: Protect Your Business with an Experienced Antitrust Attorney
Antitrust laws are designed to protect and encourage competition, a cornerstone of our capitalist free market economic system. Unfortunately, situations arise where an antitrust attorney is needed to enforce the rights of an individual or business.
At Glancy Prongay & Murray, our antitrust attorneys help businesses and consumers who have been impacted by anticompetitive actions. Whether it is price fixing, bid rigging, or the unlawful monopolization of a market, our we understand the damaging and lasting consequences that can come with illegal business activity.
Our firm has been representing a wide range of people, institutions, and companies in antitrust and related cases across the country for more than 30 years. We combine decades of legal experience to help clients protect their rights, ensure competition in the marketplace, and ensure that those who do not play by the rules are made fully accountable.
Legal Protections Against Anticompetitive Activity
There are a number of federal antitrust laws meant to maintain competition and prohibit certain activity that could harm consumers or give one business a leg up on the others. Many of these laws have been on the books for decades and have been developed over the years through the courts.
- The Sherman Act is the primary federal law ensuring competition among businesses in the United States. It bans “unreasonable” restraints on trade and certain forms of monopolization. Because business are constantly trying to improve their position in any marketplace, it can be difficult to determine whether a specific action is “unfair” under the law. That question depends largely on the individual circumstances. Certain practices, like colluding to fix prices or rig bids, is considered unreasonable in nearly any situation.
- The Federal Trade Commission Act bans “unfair methods of competition” and “unfair or deceptive acts or practices.” It gives the Federal Trade Commission the authority to bring cases enforcing the law, which often means challenging unreasonable trade restraints that are also prohibited by the Sherman Act.
- The Clayton Act focuses largely on mergers and acquisitions. It bans those deals that “substantially” reduce competition or create an unlawful monopoly. The law also bans certain discriminatory practices in setting prices.
Price Fixing is an antitrust violation that happens when two or more companies agree to keep prices for similar goods and services at the same level. These kinds of deals are anticompetitive because they prevent market forces like supply and demand from setting prices.
Businesses make these kinds of deals as a way to carve out pieces of the market based on factors other than price. They often mean that prices will be inflated, both for end consumers and other businesses that buy goods in the supply chain.
Price fixing is considered a “per se” violation of the Sherman Act. That means it is unlawful under almost any circumstances. The practice also violates the Federal Trade Commission Act.
These schemes are often set without an explicit agreement to fix prices. Instead, businesses may agree to do certain things that they know will have the effect of cementing the price of goods or services. An antitrust attorney can go a long way in proving price fixing by gathering circumstantial evidence that shows those actions likely would not have been taken for any other reason than to price fix.
The term “bid rigging” refers to various moves that companies make to manipulate the process of bidding on government and other contracts. Coordination among bidders—or between a bidder and the person awarding the contract—creates situations in which the contract goes to the favored bidder without the benefits of a competitive process.
In one common scenario, businesses in the same industry will agree to take turns being the lowest bidder on a contract.
Like price fixing, bid rigging is a Sherman Act violation in almost all circumstances. Uncovering these deals often requires significant investigation and the assistance of an experienced antitrust attorney.
A monopoly happens when a single businesses obtains near exclusive control of the supply of good or service or the trade of the good or service.
A monopoly is unlawful when a company gains that control improperly. That is, other than by having a superior product or service or simply a better business model.
Unfair Trade Practices
Unfair trade practices commonly refer to situations in which a company selling a product give false, misleading or incomplete information to consumers. Businesses sometimes engage in these fraudulent practices to make sales and increase prices.
Misrepresentation is a common unfair trade practice. A seller may make a false statement about the product, leave important information out when describing the product or provide pictures that don’t adequately represent the product. Similarly, false advertising happens when a seller simply makes incorrect claims about the product, its uses or its performance.
Consumer Class Action Antitrust Lawsuits
People, institutions and businesses who have been victimized by unlawful, anticompetitive activity have a number of options when it comes to enforcing their legal rights. A class action is often an efficient way to seek compensation for your losses.
Class action lawsuits allow a number of people or entities harmed by the same antitrust violations to combine their claims into a single legal actions. That makes it easier for those with relatively smaller claims to share the cost of pursuing a lawsuit. It also gives them the chance to leverage their claims in order to get a company’s attention.
Speak With an Antitrust Attorney You Can Trust
If you have been harmed by anticompetitive behavior, it is important to seek the counsel of an experienced antitrust attorney. A seasoned lawyer can help you understand your rights and options and guide you through the legal process to ensure that those responsible are made accountable.
At Glancy Prongay & Murray, our antitrust attorneys have been representing people in unfair trade practice and other cases for decades. We have the resources and experience to handle complex, high-stakes antitrust claims.
Our firm also has a strong track record of success in these cases and we take them on a contingency fee basis. Call us at (310) 201-9150 or contact us online to speak with an attorney today.