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Missouri Antitrust Laws

What are Antitrust Laws?

A very large company that has no real competition is referred to as a "trust." Trusts, in this context, are typically bad for consumers because they restrict competition and result in fewer choices for consumers -- and typically higher prices. Therefore, antitrust laws are intended to discourage businesses from restricting competition. Most antitrust regulation comes from the federal government, since corporations typically conduct business across state lines.

Overview of Missouri Antitrust Laws

Missouri's antitrust laws are in a code section entitled "Monopolies, Discriminations and Conspiracies" and impose both fines and county jail sentences. Missouri law is unique in that it also focuses on specific commodities, such as milk and motor fuel. In addition, the Missouri Unfair Milk Sales Practices Law allows for injunctive relief -- in other words, a producer selling milk at below cost in order to squeeze competitors may be ordered to cease this activity.

The state's attorney general investigates suspected antitrust violations, which include:

  • Contracts, combinations (mergers), or conspiracies with the purpose of restraining trade
  • Monopolies, attempts to monopolize, or conspiracies to monopolize trade or commerce within the state
  • Price-fixing
  • Selling or advertising milk at less than cost

Additional details about Missouri antitrust law can be found in the following table, with links to additional sources and an overview of federal antitrust laws. See Missouri Business Laws for more articles and resources.

Antitrust Code Section Missouri Antitrust Act: 416.011, et seq.
Is a Private Lawsuit Possible? Yes; attorney general also enforces
Time Limit to Bring Claim 4 yrs.
Can a Successful Plaintiff Recover Attorneys' Fees? Yes

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Missouri antitrust attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Federal Antitrust Laws

Federal antitrust laws are encoded in the Sherman Act and Clayton Act. These laws prohibit any concerted effort to restrict trade and limit large corporations' ability to acquire other companies in a way that severely reduces competition.

The Sherman Act prohibits an illegal "trust... or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce," imposing fines and possible prison sentences. The Clayton Act created the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which reviews complaints and regulates corporate mergers.

The FTC's Guide to Antitrust Laws provides a concise overview of federal law.

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