In the context of business regulation, monopolies are not the ideal. Indeed, government (at both the federal and state level) downright frowns upon monopolies.
Enter antitrust laws. Antitrust laws are meant to discourage large business entities (monopolies) from having so much market share (power over an entire sector) that they stifle competition. Consider these laws a helping hand for capitalism.
Generally speaking, antitrust regulations prevent large mergers that their respective state attorneys believe may hurt consumers by limiting choice.
The federal government largely regulates these laws. Therefore Arizona's antitrust laws largely serve to complement federal antitrust laws. The federal laws are contained in the Sherman and Clayton Acts.
Federal antitrust laws typically prohibit any conspiracy or concerted effort to restrain trade, while also limiting the ability of large corporations to make acquisitions that would severely limit competition.
The Sherman Act specifically imposes a steep fine ($100,000,000 if a corporation) and possible 10-year prison sentence for an illegal "trust... or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce."
The signing of the Clayton Act is best known for creating the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which is responsible for reviewing complaints and approving corporate mergers. See FTC's Guide to Antitrust Laws to learn more about federal statutes and enforcement measures.
So, to put it another way, a "trust" is a very large corporation that lacks any real competition. Antitrust laws, therefore, are intended to foster a more competitive landscape, which tends to provide better choices and fair prices for consumers.
These laws usually come into play after a large corporate merger is announced, prior to final approval. Arizona antitrust laws have a four-year statute of limitations for filing claims and allow private lawsuits for violations.
The following table highlights the main provisions of Arizona's antitrust laws. See FindLaw's Consumer Protection section for related articles.
|Antitrust Code Section||44-1401 to 1416 Uniform State Antitrust Act|
|Is a Private Lawsuit Possible?||Yes, 44-1408(A)|
|Time Limit to Bring Claim||4 yrs.; Private action must be brought within 4 yrs. of the cause of action or one years after the conclusion of a timely action of the state 44-1410(B)|
|Can a Successful Plaintiff Recover Attorneys' Fees?||Yes, 44-1408(B)|
Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact an Arizona antitrust attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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