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Hawaii Antitrust Laws

Most consumers only see the products we buy, and rarely get a look at what’s going on behind the scenes in the “free market.” Therefore, we need to have faith that a few companies aren’t conspiring to set inflated prices, or uniting to artificially control supply. Fellow businesses also want to know that their competitors aren’t colluding in order to undercut competition.

Fortunately for consumers and businesses, the Aloha State has strict laws designed to protect open and transparent markets and make sure pricing is fair. This is a quick introduction to antitrust laws in Hawaii.

Antitrust Laws

State antitrust laws prohibit collusion between companies that could give them an unfair competitive advantage in the consumer market. These laws also block certain mergers and acquisitions in an effort to avoid monopolies in certain industries. In order to enforce these statutes, Hawaii allows private citizens to bring lawsuits against companies for antitrust violations, and the state attorney general may enforce civil and criminal provisions. If a lawsuit is successful, a citizen may recover attorneys’ fees and the cost of filing the lawsuit.

Antitrust Law in Hawaii

Hawaii’s antitrust statutes are listed below.

Antitrust Code Section

Hawaii Revised Statutes 480-1, et seq.: Monopolies; Restraint of Trade

Is a Private Lawsuit Possible?

Yes; attorney general shall enforce criminal and civil provisions

Time Limit to Bring Claim

4 yrs.

Can a Successful Plaintiff Recover Attorneys' Fees?

Yes

Antitrust Enforcement

State antitrust statutes are not the only business regulations designed to protect free trade and commerce. The United States government employs the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act to assist states in prosecuting antitrust claims. These federal statutes bar any interference with the ordinary, competitive pricing system, and prohibit price discrimination, exclusive dealing contracts and mergers that may lessen competition. The Hawaii Attorney General’s Markets and Financial Fraud Division enforces antitrust regulations and can receive reports of possible antitrust violations.

Related Resources for Antitrust Laws in Hawaii

Corporate malfeasance can be complicated. And the laws prohibiting it can be just as difficult to understand. You can consult with an experienced Hawaii antitrust attorney in your area if you would like legal help with an antitrust matter, or if you are interested in understanding the rules and regulations regarding your business. And FindLaw’s sections on Consumer Protection and Small Business Law can provide you with further reading and resources on this topic.

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