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West Virginia Antitrust Laws

As consumers and business owners, we’d like to think that all companies are playing by the same set of rules when it comes to the “free market.” And as long as the battle for sales is open, transparent, and above board, sellers can compete fairly and consumers can choose the best deal.

But what happens when one company artificially controls supply or a product, or a few companies conspire to set an inflated price or deflated wages? That’s when the Mountain State’s strict statutes come into play in order to protect open markets and ensure fair prices. Here is a quick introduction to antitrust laws in West Virginia.

Antitrust Laws

State antitrust laws prohibit sellers from gaining an unfair competitive advantage in the consumer market via collusion. These laws also block certain mergers and acquisitions in order to prevent monopolies that could unfairly affect prices. West Virginia law allows both private citizens and the state attorney general to bring lawsuits against companies for antitrust violations in order to enforce these provisions.

Antitrust Law in West Virginia

The details of West Virginia’s antitrust laws are listed below.

Antitrust Code Section

West Virginia Code: 47-18-1, et seq.: Antitrust Act

Is a Private Lawsuit Possible?

Yes; attorney general power to enforce

Time Limit to Bring Claim

4 yrs., unless one civil action is brought, then any other is suspended during the first's pendency and one year after

Can a Successful Plaintiff Recover Attorneys' Fees?

Yes; filing fees, and reasonable expenses of discovery and document reproduction

Antitrust Enforcement

States institute business regulations designed to protect free trade and commerce. And along with West Virginia’s state laws, the United States government uses two federal statutes, the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act, that also prosecute antitrust violations. These federal statutes prohibit price discrimination, exclusive dealing contracts, and mergers that may lessen competition, as well as ban any interference with the ordinary and competitive pricing system. The West Virginia Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division has information and can assist you in filing a complaint if you suspect a person or business has committed an antitrust violation.

More Resources for West Virginia Antitrust Laws

The state statutes covering corporate malfeasance, and their overlap with similar federal laws, can be complicated. FindLaw’s sections on Consumer Protection and Small Business Law can provide you with additional articles and resources on this topic. You can also consult with a West Virginia antitrust attorney in your area if you would like legal assistance with an antitrust matter.

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