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Nevada Antitrust Laws

The American economic model requires businesses to have competition. Antitrust laws help ensure we have an open and competitive marketplace by prohibiting some anti-competitive business behavior. Antitrust violations are bad for consumers because they typically lead to higher prices and less variety in the marketplace.  

Federal Antitrust Law

Often, federal laws preempt state laws in this area. The major federal laws are the Sherman Antitrust Act, the Clayton Act, and the Federal Trade Commission Act. These antitrust laws try to stop the harmful effects of monopolies and lack of business competition. Generally, the types of activities that antitrust laws prohibit include:

  • Price fixing or artificially inflating prices to prevent new businesses from starting up or to ensure large profits
  • Price gouging or charging exuberant amounts for necessary items during a disaster
  • Bid rigging on contracts
  • Monopolizing a product by suppressing competition

How to File a Complaint about an Antitrust Violation in Nevada

The state agency that investigates and enforces the various state consumer protection laws, including the deceptive trade practices and antitrust laws, is the Nevada Attorney General’s Office. You can file a complaint using their consumer complaint forms available online. For more information, call the Bureau of Consumer Protection Hotline at 702-486-3132. You can also report the crime to your local police department.

The table below outlines the antitrust laws in Nevada.

Code Section Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 598A – Unfair Trade Practices
What Is Prohibited? The Nevada antitrust laws prohibit any of the following activities, and more:
  • Price fixing, such as agreements to lower prices to buy raw materials or establish prices for services, to not advertise prices, to bid rig, to discontinue products or restrict the volume of production, etc.
  • Agreements between competitors to divide territories or customers and to not sell in each other’s area or to each other’s people
  • Monopolization trade in this state
  • Merging or consolidating businesses if it results in a monopoly of commerce or substantially lessens competition or restrains trade
Penalties Violating these unfair trade practices laws can have criminal and civil penalties.

Criminal Penalties
Conspiring to or actually violating these laws is a category D felony that can be sentenced to a minimum of 1 year and maximum of 4 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Civil Penalties
The attorney general or local district attorney can ask the court for:
  • An injunction to stop a violation from occurring
  • Suspension of the ability to do business in Nevada
  • A civil penalty of 5% of the gross income realized from the sale of commodities or services sold in Nevada each year in which the prohibited activity occurred

If the state, county, city, or other state agency is injured by an antitrust violation, they can recover treble damages and reasonable attorney fees.

Private Lawsuits Any person whose business or property is threatened with injury by an antitrust violation may sue for an injunction to stop it. If actually injured, directly or indirectly, he or she can sue for treble damages. The person must also mail a copy of the lawsuit to the Attorney General for the agency to review.
Attorneys’ Fees Yes, a successful plaintiff could recover reasonable attorney fees and court costs, as determined by the court.
Time Limits to Bring Claims The time limit in which you must sue, also known as the “statute of limitations” for antitrust violations in Nevada is fours. That means your claim will be barred if it wasn’t started within four years of when the action occurred or when you discovered the conspiracy or should’ve been reasonably able to discover the conspiracy.

You can also bring an action within one year of the end of any Attorney General civil penalty or injury to a public business or property action that’s started within or before the four-year period has run, if it’s for the same antitrust activities.

Antitrust laws can be hard to understand. If you feel a company or individual violated these antitrust laws in Nevada, you should talk to an experienced local antitrust lawyer. A lawyer can better assess your situation and explain your legal options.

Note: Federal and state laws are revised frequently. It’s important to conduct your own legal research or contact an attorney to verify these state business and trade laws.

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