Robbins Arroyo LLP’s antitrust litigation practice is focused on representing businesses and consumers in antitrust lawsuits when they have suffered damages due to the impact of violations of federal and state antitrust laws.
Antitrust Violations Cost You and Your Business Money
The United States Department of Justice has noted that antitrust law violations significantly raise the cost of products and services, and cause American consumers and businesses to pour billions of dollars each year into the pockets of antitrust violators. Enforcement of America’s antitrust laws by skilled and aggressive antitrust attorneys helps to ensure that the prices you pay for goods and services reflect robust competition in a free-market economy, not prices inflated by backroom deals, conspiracies, and bid rigging.
We Help Businesses & Consumers Combat Anticompetitive Conduct
Robbins Arroyo LLP’s antitrust attorneys represent businesses and consumers injured by anticompetitive conduct. Anticompetitive conduct can cause injury in a number of ways. For example, consumers can suffer overcharges where a conspiracy to fix prices above competitive levels forces someone to pay more than he or she would have paid but for the anticompetitive conduct. Someone seeking to sell a business or product may suffer an undercharge where a conspiracy among buyers artificially depresses prices below competitive levels. A small business owner can lose profits when other businesses conspire to refuse to conduct business with them. Successful claimants may recover up to three times the amount of actual monetary damages (“treble damages”). Through antitrust litigation, Robbins Arroyo LLP antitrust attorneys also help clients to make important contributions to the maintenance of fair and free market pricing.
Examples of Antitrust Violations
Antitrust violations can take several forms:
- Price-fixing – agreements by competitors as to what prices to charge or that they will not sell below a certain price
- Customer-allocation agreements – arrangements among competitors to allocate customers, such as by geographic area, to reduce or eliminate competition
- Monopoly leveraging
- Tying arrangements
- Vertical restraints
- Exclusive dealing and refusals to deal in business transactions (may occur in a merger or acquisition, a joint venture, or privatization, for example)
Signs of Anticompetitive Behavior
Illegal anticompetitive agreements are typically entered into secretly; therefore, enforcement of antitrust law requires vigilance on the part of consumers and businesses that are the victims of these arrangements. Signs of anticompetitive behavior include*:
- Evidence that two or more competing sellers of similar products have agreed to price their products a certain way, to sell only a limited amount of their product, or to sell only in certain areas or to certain customers
- Large price changes involving more than one seller of very similar products of different brands, particularly if the price changes are of a roughly equal amount and occur at about the same time
- Suspicious statements from a seller suggesting that only one firm can sell to a particular customer or type of customer
- Fewer competitors than normal submit bids on a contract
- Competitors submit identical bids
- The same company, repeatedly, has been the low bidder on contracts for a certain product or service or in a particular area
- Bidders seem to win bids on a fixed rotation
- There is an unusual and unexplainable large dollar difference between the winning bid and all other bids
- The same bidder bids substantially higher on some bids than on others, and there is no logical cost reason to explain the difference.
These signs are not conclusive evidence of antitrust violations, but they are strong indicators of anticompetitive conduct that warrant further investigation to determine whether antitrust litigation should be commenced.
Report an Antitrust Violation
Robbins Arroyo LLP’s antitrust lawyers are eager to help you evaluate whether you have been harmed by illegal anticompetitive conduct and have a viable antitrust claim. Please contact us today.
* U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Antitrust Enforcement and the Consumer (Sept. 26, 2005).