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Maryland Antitrust Laws

As consumers, we’re always hunting for the best bargains. We understand that, while companies are trying to be competitive with their pricing, they are also generally trying to charge as much as they can for their products. Normally, this competition is open and transparent, with consumers hoping this competition for our dollars will generally result in lower prices.

But what happens if several companies conspire to falsely set prices or mislead consumers about supply? Thankfully for us, the Old Line State laws on the books designed to protect open markets and make sure pricing is fair. This is a brief summary of antitrust laws in Maryland.

Antitrust Laws

State-enforced antitrust laws are intended to discourage both collusion between companies and certain mergers and acquisitions that could give one or more companies an unfair advantage in the consumer market. Maryland’s antitrust statutes allow its citizens to bring private lawsuits against companies, enforced by the state attorney general. Plaintiff’s can even recover their attorneys' fees along with damages if the antitrust claims are successful.

Antitrust Law in Maryland

The main provisions of antitrust laws in Maryland are highlighted in the table below. You can visit FindLaw's Business Regulations section for more extensive information.

Antitrust Code Section

Maryland Antitrust Act: Com. Law II §§11-201, et seq.

Is a Private Lawsuit Possible?

Yes; attorney general power to enforce

Time Limit to Bring Claim

4 yrs.

Can a Successful Plaintiff Recover Attorneys' Fees?

Yes

Antitrust Enforcement

Maryland isn’t the only state with antitrust laws to protect free trade and commerce from unfair restraints, like price fixing and monopolies. The federal government has two antitrust laws -- the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act -- that can assist states in prosecuting antitrust cases:

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

Related Resources for Antitrust Laws

Antitrust laws and the practices they cover can be complicated. If you would like legal assistance with an antitrust matter, or if you would like to understand the rules and regulations regarding your business, you can contact a Maryland antitrust attorney. You can also visit FindLaw’s Consumer Protection and Small Business Law sections for more articles and resources on this topic.

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