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Massachusetts Antitrust Laws

Consumers are always trying to get the lowest price possible for goods and services, and it only makes sense that businesses are trying to charge as much as they can. But what happens when several businesses agree to artificially set prices or supply? Or what if a business doesn’t have any competition? The Bay State has laws in place to protect open markets and hopefully protect both consumers and competing business from unfair trade practices. This is a brief summary of antitrust laws in Massachusetts.

Antitrust Laws

In the context of business regulation, monopolies are not the ideal. So a "trust" is a very large corporation that lacks any real competition.Therefore, antitrust laws, 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. Massachusetts antitrust laws have a four-year statute of limitations for filing claims and allow private lawsuits for violations.

Antitrust Law in Massachusetts

The following table highlights the main provisions of Massachusetts' antitrust laws.

Antitrust Code Section

Massachusetts Antitrust Act: Ch. 93 §§1, et seq.

Is a Private Lawsuit Possible?

Yes; attorney general also enforces

Time Limit to Bring Claim

4 yrs.

Can a Successful Plaintiff Recover Attorneys' Fees?


Antitrust Enforcement

Antitrust laws try to protect commerce and from free trade unfair restraints, such as monopolies and price fixing. There are two federal laws -- the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act – that work in tandem with state law and apply to antitrust cases. Most of these antitrust statutes are enforced in one of two ways:

  • A state attorney general can bring a lawsuit on behalf of the state: if the suit is successful, the court can order an injunction prohibiting the unfair practice or punish the guilty party by ordering fines paid to the consumers; or
  • Competing businesses or consumers themselves can file their own lawsuit: if the suit is successful, the plaintiff can recover damages for injuries suffered as a result of the unfair practice.

Related Resources for Antitrust Laws

State antitrust laws can be complex, especially where they overlap with federal laws. If you want to get a better idea the rules and regulations regarding your business, or if you would like legal advice regarding an antitrust case, you can contact an experienced antitrust attorney in Massachusetts. You can also visit FindLaw’s consumer protection and small business law sections to learn more about general business regulations.

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