The cornerstone of the American economic ideal is business competition. To restrain free trade contradicts that economic model. Therefore, to protect consumers, federal and state antitrust laws have been developed to prohibit the intentional creation of monopolies and agreements between businesses that reduce competition. Although these are usually called antitrust laws, in the Hawkeye State, this law is aptly called the “Iowa Competition Law.”
In Iowa, the state agency that investigates and enforces the antitrust laws is the Office of the Attorney General, in their Consumer Protection Division. You can file a complaint about a business online or by mailing the complaint in. For more information, call the Attorney General’s Office at 1-888-777-4590.
The following chart details the competition or antitrust laws in Iowa.
|Code Sections||Iowa Code Chapter 553 – Iowa Competition Law|
|What is Prohibited?||Iowa prohibits any of the following anti-competitive business activities:
|Penalties||A few of the civil penalties possible for breaking antitrust laws in Iowa are:
Some of the criminal penalties for breaking the antitrust laws are:
Note that a person will either be sued in civil court or be prosecuted in criminal court, but not both.
|State Agency||The Iowa Office of the Attorney General investigates and sues violators of the state antitrust laws. Sometimes the local county attorney may also assist the Attorney General in criminal and civil antitrust actions.|
|Private Lawsuits||Yes, both the state and individuals who have been harmed by an antitrust law violator can bring a lawsuit against the lawbreaker.|
|Time Limit to Bring Claim||Civil or criminal actions for antitrust violations in Iowa must be brought within 4 years. This time limit is called a “statute of limitations” and prevents individuals from worrying about going to jail for a minor crime committed many years ago.|
|Attorney Fees||Yes, an individual plaintiff can recover attorney fees from a defendant if he or she wins. However, the state can’t get its costs of prosecution and investigation covered by the defendant.|
Note: State laws change frequently. It’s best to contact an experienced Iowa antitrust lawyer or conduct your own legal research to verify these state laws.
Research the Law
Contact a qualified attorney.