Antitrust Lawyers for Whistleblowers
The experienced antitrust lawyers at Gilman Law LLP represent individuals who want to blow the whistle on anticompetitive practices, including the following illegal practices:
- price fixing
- bid rigging
- tying agreements
- illegal monopolies
The Sherman Antitrust Act and other federal and state antitrust laws seek to promote and protect marketplace fairness by prohibiting or regulating anticompetitive practices. Companies engaged in price fixing and other antitrust law violations may be subject to criminal sanctions, as well. Private citizens and entities harmed by anticompetitive price fixing and other antitrust law violations can also file a civil antitrust lawsuit seeking compensation for their damages, as well as an injunction forbidding further violations.
When corporations violate competition laws or antitrust laws, they undermine the integrity of the marketplace, stifle innovation and harm smaller companies and consumers. If you are aware of antitrust law violations, or have been damaged by illegal anticompetitive practices such as price fixing, filing a private antitrust lawsuit can bring an end to the illegal activity. Our team of highly experienced antitrust lawyers are committed to prosecuting antitrust lawsuits on behalf of individuals and businesses who want to ensure that markets remain competitive and fair for all consumers and companies, regardless of their size and/or resources. Our price-fixing lawyers offer free, no obligation lawsuit consultations to all antitrust whistleblowers. To discuss filing a price-fixing lawsuit or other competition claim, we urge you to contact the antitrust attorneys at Gilman Law LLP today for a complete evaluation of your potential competition lawsuit by calling (888) 252-0048 TOLL FREE or by completing our Free Consultation Form Online.
Antitrust Lawsuits and Competition Law
Federal antitrust laws generally limit damages from competition lawsuits and antitrust lawsuits to businesses or individuals who purchased goods or services directly from the person or company that violate the Sherman Act and other federal competition laws. This is called a Direct Purchaser in an antitrust lawsuit. Business or individuals who do not purchase goods or services directly from a person or company are defined as Indirect Purchasers. Since most products and services are sold through distributors, wholesalers, or retailers, most competition lawsuits filed under federal antitrust laws are brought by businesses. However, state antitrust laws often allow consumers and other end-users to file competition lawsuits to recover damages caused by unfair business practices, even if they did not purchase goods or services directly from the person or company that violates the antitrust laws.
Filing an antitrust lawsuit can be an effective way for businesses and individuals to restore integrity to the marketplace when a corporation violates competition laws. The competition lawyers with Gilman Law’s antitrust division have extensive experience with both state and federal antitrust laws, and have successfully prosecuted significant competition lawsuits in both state and federal courts throughout the country. Our antitrust lawyers aggressively pursue each competition claim to ensure that our clients and other consumers are able to reap all of the benefits of a free market.
Antitrust Law Violations
Antitrust laws prohibit unfair trade practices, anticompetitive business tactics and predatory market conduct that attempts to secure greater market share and minimize competition. Anticompetitive behavior prohibited by federal and state competition laws includes:
- Price Fixing: Price fixing is a conspiracy between business competitors to set their prices to buy or sell goods or services at a certain price point. This practice prohibits other businesses from being able to compete against the firms engaged in the price-fixing agreement, and deprives consumers of the benefits of free competition.
- Illegal Monopoly: A monopoly exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity. Monopolies are illegal if they are established or maintained through improper conduct, such as exclusionary or predatory acts.
- Market Allocation Schemes: This competition law violation occurs when businesses conspire to divide or allocate the market by customer type, geographic location or products among themselves. One competitor will not bid against another if they were not allocated to that customer according to the illegal agreement.
- Bid Rigging: Bid rigging occurs when competitors agree in advance who will submit the winning bid on a contract being let through the competitive bidding process. This practice allows the conspiring competitors to effectively raise prices when federal, state, or local governments seek to acquire goods or services by soliciting competing bids.
- Tying Agreements: Tying agreements occur when a business selling a product (the tying product) requires the consumer to purchase another unrelated product (the tied product). Tying agreements are illegal if the seller has a considerable amount of power in the tying product or the tying of the product affects a substantial amount of interstate commerce.
Federal Antitrust Laws and State Antitrust Laws
Federal and state antitrust laws prohibit agreements in restraint of trade, monopolization and attempted monopolization, anticompetitive mergers and tie-in schemes, and, in some circumstances, price discrimination in the sale of commodities. The rationale behind competition laws holds that consumers and businesses have the right to expect the benefits of free and open competition.
Major federal competition laws prohibit noncompetitive business practices:
- The Sherman Antitrust Act: Passed in 1890, the Sherman Antitrust Act outlaws all contracts, combinations and conspiracies that unreasonably restrain interstate and foreign trade, including fixing prices, rigging bids and allocating customers. The Sherman Act also makes it illegal to monopolize any part of interstate commerce.
- The Clayton Act: Passed in 1914, the Clayton Act prohibits mergers or acquisitions that are likely to harm competition and inflate prices paid by consumers. Any entity considering a merger or acquisition above a certain size must notify the Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission.
- The Federal Trade Commission Act: The Federal Trade Commission Act prohibits unfair methods of competition in interstate commerce.
Criminal prosecution of Sherman Act violations is the responsibility of the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice. A corporation or individual convicted of a Sherman Act violation may be ordered to make restitution to the victims for all overcharges. Victims of bid-rigging and price-fixing conspiracies also may file competition lawsuits seeking civil recovery of up to three times the amount of damages suffered. Both the Clayton Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act carry no criminal penalties, and are tried as civil antitrust lawsuits.
Why State Antitrust Laws?
Because the U.S. Congress cannot regulate commerce that occurs purely within a state (itrastate), the states needed to pass their own legislation to avoid having anticompetitive behavior depress their own local economies. As such, many have adopted antitrust laws that parallel the Sherman Act. Often these state antitrust laws allow private consumers to file competition lawsuits.
Legal Help for Antitrust Whistleblowers
The competition lawyers at Gilman Law LLP have an excellent track record of successfully assisting consumers and businesses victimized by predatory and unfair business practices pursue federal and state antitrust lawsuits. If you are aware of or have been victimized by violations of competition laws, our experienced and aggressive antitrust lawyers want to work with you to restore fairness to the marketplace. For a free and confidential evaluation of your antitrust lawsuit, please call (888) 252-0048 TOLL FREE or complete our Free Consultation Form Online.