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Virginia Antitrust Laws

State and Federal Antitrust Laws at a Glance

If a "trust" is a large corporate entity with little or no competition, then "antitrust laws" are regulations designed to prevent the formation of trusts. Successful antitrust lawsuits typically prevent large mergers or acquisitions. When companies become trusts, they eliminate competition, which tends to reduce consumer choice and increase prices.

There are three main federal antitrust laws enforced by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC):

  • The Sherman Act - Prohibits contracts or conspiracies that restrict trade or create monopolies.
  • The Federal Trade Commission Act - Bans unfair competition and deceptive acts or practices.
  • The Clayton Act - Regulates mergers and acquisitions, prohibiting such actions if they would create a monopoly (an amendment to the Sherman Act).

State antitrust laws usually are very similar to their federal counterparts, and in fact many of them are directly based on federal laws. These are typically enforced by state attorneys general, but may also allow for private lawsuits.

The Virginia Antitrust Act

Either the state Attorney General or private plaintiffs may file suit for violations of the Virginia Antitrust Act, which carries a four-year statute of limitations (or one year after an action by the Attorney General). The Act is very similar to federal antitrust laws and prohibits the following activities:

  • Any contract, combination, or conspiracy in restraint of trade or commerce
  • Any conspiracy, combination, or attempt to monopolize trade or commerce
  • Discriminatory practices, such as different pricing for the same product or favoring one purchaser over another

Violations of the law may result in temporary restraining orders and injunctions to halt the prohibited activity. Successful plaintiffs may recover attorneys' fees, in addition to damages.

Learn more about Virginia's antitrust law in the following table, with links to related sources. See Details on State Antitrust Laws for additional information.

Antitrust Code Section Virginia Antitrust Act: 59.1-9.1, et seq.
Is a Private Lawsuit Possible? Yes; attorney general power to enforce
Time Limit to Bring Claim 4 yrs. or 1 yr. after conclusion of action
Can a Successful Plaintiff Recover Attorneys' Fees? Yes

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

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