Rhode Island Antitrust Laws

The word "trust" means a lot of things, but in the context of commerce, a trust is a large entity (usually a corporation), a combination of such interests, or any other deal among businesses or organizations meant to restrict competition. Both federal and state antitrust laws seek to prevent monopolies and other arrangements that restrict trade by unfairly squashing the competition. Generally, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) tends to monitor and regulate publicly traded corporations and businesses that span state boundaries. But state courts primarily handle antitrust cases that are contained within state boundaries.

Rhode Island Antitrust Law at a Glance

Rhode Island antitrust law is similar to antitrust statutes in other states in that it focuses on the prevention of monopolies and conspiracies to restrain trade. Violators face the possibility of criminal penalties, including prison, in addition to civil lawsuits. Additional details of Rhode Island's antitrust law are listed in the following chart.

Antitrust Code Section Rhode Island Antitrust Act: 6-36-1, et seq.
Prohibited Acts
  • Restraint of Trade or Commerce: Any contract, combination, or conspiracy in restraint of, or to monopolize, trade or commerce
  • Establishment, Maintenance, or Use of Monopoly Power: Any attempt to establish a monopoly, of trade or commerce by any person, for the purpose of excluding competition or controlling, fixing, or maintaining prices
  • Certain Contracts: A contract for the supplying of commodities or furnishing of services, or for the fixing of prices charged the commodities or services, or for the giving or selling of a discount or rebate, on the condition, agreement, or understanding that one party shall not deal in the commodities or services of a competitor or competitors of the other party
Criminal Penalties Companies, certain officers, and associates may be charged with a felony, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000,000 if a corporation, or, if a natural person, by not more than three (3) years imprisonment or by a fine of not more than $100,000, or both imprisonment and fine, in the discretion of the court.
Is a Private Lawsuit Possible? Yes, but private party plaintiff must notify attorney general of his complaint and file proof of service
Time Limit to Bring Claim 4 yrs.
Can a Successful Plaintiff Recover Attorneys' Fees? Yes; treble damages, reasonable costs and attorney's fees

Note: State laws are always subject to change through a variety of ways, most often the enactment of newly signed legislation. You may want to contact a Rhode Island consumer protection attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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