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Florida Antitrust Laws

While we consumers always want the lowest price possible for goods and services, it makes sense to expect businesses to charge us as much as they can. But what happens if a business doesn’t have any competition? Or what if several businesses agree to artificially set prices or supply? Fortunately for us consumers (and some competing businesses), the Sunshine State has laws in place to protect open markets. Here is a brief summary of antitrust laws in Florida.

Antitrust Laws

In the absence of competition, businesses have little incentive to win customers over. Therefore, the federal government and states use antitrust laws to discourage certain mergers and acquisitions that may give them a grossly unfair advantage. Florida antitrust laws allow plaintiffs to bring private lawsuits against companies and also make it possible to recover attorneys' fees.

Antitrust Law in Florida

The table below highlights the main provisions of Florida antitrust laws. See FindLaw's Business Regulations section to learn more.

Antitrust Code Section

542.15, et seq.

Is a Private Lawsuit Possible?

Yes; attorney general also enforces

Time Limit to Bring Claim

1 yr. (plus period for attorney general action)

Can a Successful Plaintiff Recover Attorneys' Fees?

Yes

Antitrust Enforcement

The goal of antitrust laws is to protect free trade and commerce from unfair restraints, such as monopolies and price fixing. There are two federal laws -- the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act -- assist states in antitrust cases. Most antitrust statutes are enforced in two ways:

  • A state attorney general can sue on behalf of the state: if the suit is successful, the court can order an injunction prohibiting the practice or punish the unfair practice by ordering fines paid to the consumers; or
  • Competing businesses or consumers themselves can file a private right of action: if the suit is successful, the plaintiff can recover damages for injuries suffered as a result of the unfair practice.

While some states only permit civil charges, others allow plaintiffs to file criminal charges as well.

Related Resources for Antitrust Laws

State antitrust laws are constantly changing and overlapping with federal laws. You can continue your own legal research by visiting FindLaw’s consumer protection and small business law centers to learn more about general business regulations. If you want to understand the rules and regulations regarding your business, or if you would like legal assistance with an antitrust case, you can contact an experienced Florida antitrust attorney.

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