Kansas Antitrust Laws
The American economic system is based on capitalism and free trade. Restraining free commerce impedes the economy. Therefore, federal and state antitrust laws were developed to prohibit businesses from making agreements to reduce competition and to outlaw monopolies.
Kansas also seeks to protect consumers from companies and individuals that try to reduce business competition to increase their profits. Kansas law prohibits trusts or agreements between two or more people to do any of the following, among other similar restrictions:
- Create or carry out restrictions in commerce or the full and free pursuit of any legal business
- Price fix or increase or reduce the price of merchandise, produce, or commodities
- Control the cost or rates of insurance or the rates of interest on loans
- Prevent competition in the manufacture, transportation, sale, or purchase of merchandise, produce, or commodities
- Agree not to sell, manufacture, or transport any commodity below a common standard figure or keep at a graded figure
- Fix a price with or without others to preclude free competition in the transportation, sale, or manufacture of any such article or commodity; or
- Pooling any interests in the manufacture, sale, or transportation of any commodity, so that price is affected
- Fix attorney or doctor fees
- Intentionally monopolizing any line of business
State vs. Federal Laws and Agencies
Typically, antitrust law crosses state boundaries and falls into the jurisdiction of federal law and courts and is enforced by the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. However, the Kansas Attorney General is responsible for investigating and enforcing the state’s antitrust laws. In December 2014, this involved going to the Supreme Court to ask that the state anti-price fixing law be upheld rather than be ruled as pre-empted by federal law. The U.S. Constitution requires federal law to trump state law. Kansas law does require harmonization with federal antitrust law.
The following table outlines the main antitrust laws in Iowa.
|Code Sections||Kansas Statutes Chapter 50: Unfair Trade and Consumer Protection, Article 1: Kansas Restraint of Trade Act|
|State Agency||The Attorney General’s Office investigates and enforces the Kansas restraint of trade laws. You can file a complaint about a business possibly violating these laws online. You can also call the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-432-2310 for help.|
|Penalties||The penalty depends on the type of antitrust activity committed. The attorney general can go to court to:
|Private Lawsuits||It is possible to bring a private lawsuit and you could get triple the amount of your damages.|
|Time Limit to Bring Claim||The time in which you must sue for these antitrust claims, also known as the “statute of limitations,” is three years in Kansas.|
|Attorney Fees||The Attorney General’s Office can recover reasonable expenses for their investigation and court Also, a plaintiff who wins his or her antitrust lawsuit can be awarded reasonable attorney fees.|
Note: State laws are revised frequently. It’s important to contact an experienced Kansas antitrust lawyer or conduct your own legal research to verify these antitrust laws and to determine your legal options.
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