Tampa Antitrust Lawyer

In the United States, antitrust law is a collection of primarily federal laws that regulate the conduct and organization of businesses to promote competition and prevent unjustified monopolies.

Antitrust laws were initially designed to prevent collusion, counter price fixing, and restrict mergers and acquisitions of organizations that may substantially lessen competition throughout the U.S. While these laws were created as early as 1890 to target corporations, they have evolved, allowing government regulators to turn their attention to much smaller companies and frequently bring charges where evidence of anticompetitive behavior is less than concrete.

The reality is that no business is safe from the federal government’s influence when it believes antitrust regulations are being violated at any level. The consequences of antitrust violations are far-reaching and may include criminal and civil enforcement.

Since 1977, Trombley & Hanes, P.A., and its trusted Tampa criminal defense lawyers have provided full-service state and federal legal defense strategies for individuals and businesses in Florida and throughout the U.S. — including those facing allegations of antitrust violations.

If you are being investigated for violating laws associated with antitrust regulations, contact our Hillsborough County defense attorneys today to fully understand your legal rights and options so that you can make informed decisions about the direction of your case and your company’s future.

Tampa Antitrust Law

Antitrust law promotes the functioning of a free market economy in the U.S. Before the passage of major antitrust legislation, many corporations engaged in anticompetitive practices which inflated prices and reduced consumer choice. Today, however, government regulators turn their attention to much smaller companies and frequently bring charges where evidence of anticompetitive behavior is weak. Please contact a Tampa antitrust lawyer at Trombley & Hanes to speak with a member of our legal team.

How Are Antitrust Regulations Enforced in the United States?

The leading U.S. antitrust statutes are the Sherman Act of 1890, the Clayton Act of 1914, and the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914. Antitrust laws are often in flux because of the long-standing regulations outlined in each of these Acts. So much so the U.S. Supreme Court regularly hears cases that clarify specific provisions of each.

  • Sherman Act of 1890

Passed in 1890, the Sherman Act criminalized monopolies created by cartels. The law prohibits any contract, combination, or conspiracy that operates to restrict trade in interstate commerce unreasonably. The law does not apply to only intrastate activity. But most economic activity today crosses state borders so that prosecutors can bring charges against most Florida businesses. A conviction under this Act carries steep penalties. A corporation can be fined up to $100 million; any individual convicted can face a $1 million fine and up to 10 years in federal prison.

  • Clayton Act of 1914

Passed in 1914, the Clayton Antitrust Act clarifies and amends specific provisions of the Sherman Act. It prohibits price fixing, price tying, stock acquisition in a competing business, and other unfair business practices. Many disputes occur over whether certain conduct is illegal. Price tying, for example, consists of bundling goods and forcing (usually by contract) a consumer to buy an unnecessary item to get what they want. This type of arrangement is only sometimes illegal under federal law. Instead, courts analyze the effect of the tying arrangement on the market.

The Clayton Act results in only civil enforcement. A defendant will be forced to pay penalties and monetary damages to plaintiffs if found liable. A judge can also order that a company divest certain assets to restore competitiveness to the market.

  • Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914

The Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914 bans “unfair methods of competition” and “unfair or deceptive acts or practices.” The Act also includes other practices that harm competition but may not fit neatly into categories of conduct formally prohibited by the Sherman Act.

While very few cases make it to the highest court in the nation, others are being prosecuted in Florida and nationwide, where U.S. Attorneys use their federal platforms to project a “tough on corporate crime” attitude. Because federal authorities are accountable for ensuring fair business practices are available to the masses, they face tremendous pressure to hold small and large companies responsible for violations that stem from their interpretations of antitrust laws. This often means pursuing antitrust violations with little evidence to support the claim.

Although each antitrust case’s details differ, these federal cases continue to grow annually, placing business owners and operators in difficult legal positions that can jeopardize everything they have worked so hard to build. This is why we are here.

Trombley & Hanes provides insightful and practical advice bolstered by our intrepid team with over 110 years of combined skill and dynamic legal experience to produce actual results for your case — just as we have for hundreds of clients before you.

Why You Should Contact an Attorney Immediately

Federal antitrust law provides for both criminal and civil enforcement. Although some defendants will only face financial penalties, it is possible to be charged as a felon and face time in prison.

The law surrounding antitrust is often in flux. The Supreme Court regularly hears cases that clarify certain provisions of either the Sherman Antitrust Act or the Clayton Antitrust Act. In this economic climate, many prosecutors are hoping to project a “tough on corporate crime” attitude, and the pressure to bring charges on shaky evidence is immense. The best way to protect yourself and your company is to contact an attorney as soon as possible to begin building a defense.

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Contact our Tampa Antitrust Lawyer Today

Any antitrust action could have disastrous effects for you personally or for your business. Civil penalties are so steep that some companies could be forced into liquidation. Even worse, the line between illegal and legal business activities is blurry, and prosecutions might be unfair.

We understand that regardless of how you got here, the legal consequences associated with your investigation can be overwhelming. In some cases, defendants are left fighting unfair prosecutorial charges initiated by blurry interpretations of antitrust laws. In others, the civil penalties may be so steep that some companies are forced into liquidation.

If federal antitrust regulators are investigating you, do not let the fear of the unknown overwhelm you. Contact Trombley & Hanes today. Our skilled antitrust lawyers in Tampa have been producing actual results for real people for more than 110 combined years.

Contact Trombley & Hanes today. Our Tampa Antitrust Lawyers have years of experience defending businesses and will gladly meet with you for a confidential consultation.

Contact us at 813-229-7918 or online to schedule a confidential consultation to learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions for Our Antitrust Attorneys in Tampa, Florida

Which Federal Regulators Pursue Antitrust Cases?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division enforce federal antitrust laws. In some respects, their authorities overlap.

How Will I Know If I Am Being Investigated for Antitrust Law Violations?

Once an antitrust law violation investigation starts, the investigating party — the Florida Attorney General, FTC, DOJ, or a combination of each — will notify the company. In many cases, companies may be required to provide numerous documents or information quickly. They will face many questions from the government and others inside and outside the organization. This is why it is critical to partner with an experienced antitrust law firm to protect your personal and corporate rights from the start of the investigation.

How Did My Company End Up on the Federal Government’s Radar?

Federal agencies are constantly reviewing antitrust cases. Whether you have submitted a merger request to state or federal agencies or are being accused of violating antitrust laws by a former business partner or consumer, once your business practices are highlighted for review by the FTC or DOJ, removing yourself from the federal government’s scrutiny is demanding. No matter how you end up here, you will need a leading antitrust attorney to protect your rights and your company’s future. We can help.

Do I Have to Cooperate with an Antitrust Investigation?

When federal authorities inspect and seize information about pursuing antitrust cases, the warrants or subpoenas are often very broad. While you must cooperate with the investigation, seeking skilled legal counsel may allow you to negotiate and narrow the scope of the government’s requests or extend the deadline for providing the information. Do not attempt to respond to a subpoena without the assistance of an attorney.

Do I Need an Antitrust Defense Attorney If I Have Done Nothing Wrong?

If you are under investigation for violating antitrust laws, being more careful in your approach to a government investigation is possible. Even if the company has done nothing wrong, responses to government inquiries must be handled appropriately and involve legal counsel to protect the company. Antitrust laws are complex and far-reaching, so even if you think you have done nothing to violate them, the U.S. Attorney may blur the lines enough to have a case. Partnering with our experienced antitrust attorneys in Tampa will help ensure you have the proper defense strategy to move forward confidently.

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