Antitrust and trade regulation laws are often extremely difficult to bring or defend, but carry sharp teeth. For instance, a business may be asked by a competitor to raise, lower, or stabilize prices for goods or services, or to serve or do business only with some customers but not others. A simple, verbal shake of the head can lead to criminal prosecutions and convictions or civil investigations and treble (triple) damages. Although the federal government has cut back the reach of federal antitrust laws, federal officials continue to charge business for price fixing, bid rigging, and dividing markets or customers. What’s more, practices allowed by federal law may be illegal in some states. This patchwork of conflicting federal and state laws may make it difficult for businesses to comply with their requirements. The laws are complicated, and ambiguous conduct may result in serious repercussions. Seemingly innocuous comments or a reply to an email can create significant liabilities.
Since the stakes are so high, seeking counsel from attorneys experienced in these matters is imperative.