State Antitrust Laws

AuthorAmerican Bar Association
A. Introduction
This chapter provides an overview of the state antitrust laws.1 All fifty states, as
well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, have some type
of antitrust statute. Although state statutes are generally modeled after the federal
antitrust laws, there are some differences. The most significant difference is that many
states have rejected the federal prohibition on damages recoveries by indirect
purchasers established in Illinois Brick Co. v. Illinois.2
B. Substantive State Antitrust Laws
1. Development of State Antitrust Laws
The historical forces that led to the passage of the Sherman Act also stimulated the
development of state antitrust laws.3 By 1890, when the Sherman Act was passed, at
least twenty-six states already had some form of antitrust prohibition.4 Senator
Sherman cited “supplement[ation of] the enforcement of” state antitrust laws as among
the purposes for his bill.5 Many fundamental concepts of federal antitrust law, such as
the per se rule against price fixing, were partially based on principles developed by
state courts construing state antitrust laws.6
Most states have statutory provisions comparable to Sections 1 and 2 of the
Sherman Act,7 and a smaller number of states have counterparts to Sections 3 and 7 of
1. More extensive treatment may be found in ABA SECTION OF ANTITRUST LAW, STATE ANTITRUST
2. 431 U.S. 720 (1977).
3. For a more thorough discussion of state law development, see ABA SECTION OF ANTITRUST LAW,
4. Id. at 3.
5. 21 CONG. REC. 2457 (1890).
6. See United States v. Trenton Potteries Co., 273 U.S. 392, 400 (1927) (relying on prior state case law
to hold price fixing among competitors as illegal per se under federal antitrust law).
7. 15 U.S.C. §§ 1, 2. In contrast, Pennsylvania’s statute is limited to prohibiting bid rigging on public
contracts. 62 PA. STAT. ANN. § 4503(a). Georgia has a civil statute of general applicability declaring
that “contracts in general restraint of trade” are “contrary to public policy” and void and
unenforceable. GA. CODE ANN. § 13-8-2(a)(2).
the Clayton Act8 and the Robinson-Patman Act.9 Many states have statutory provisions
that require varying degrees of deference to federal precedent in applying state antitrust
law to practices also subject to federal law.10 These statutes are often called
“harmonization statutes.” Some courts in state s without harmonization statutes have
adopted similar policies of deference, also varying in degree, to federal antitrust
2. Laws Addressing Specific Industries or Specific Practices
State antitrust laws often contain industry-specific statutes, statutes dealing with
particular practices, or some combination of the two. Examples of industries in which
anticompetitive activities are expressly prohibited by certain state laws include motor
fuel,12 alcoholic beverages,13 dairy products,14 and motion pictures.15 Specific practices
expressly prohibited by some state antitrust laws include bid rigging,16 below-cost
8. 15 U.S.C. §§ 14, 18.
9. Id. §§ 13(a)-(f). Some state price discrimination laws apply to the sale of services in addition to the
sale of commodities covered by the Robinson-Patman Act. See, e.g., FLA. STAT. ANN. § 540.01.
10. See, e.g., Arizona (ARIZ. REV. STAT. ANN. § 44-1412); Colorado (COLO. STAT. § 6-4-119);
Connecticut (CONN. GEN. STAT. ANN. § 35-44b); Delaware (DEL. CODE ANN. tit. 6, § 2113);
District of Columbia (D.C. CODE ANN. § 28-4515); Florida (FLA. STAT. ANN. § 542.32); Hawaii
(HAW. REV. STAT. § 480-3); Illinois (740 ILL. COMP. STAT. ANN. § 10/11); Iowa (IOWA CODE ANN.
§ 553.2); Massachusetts (MASS. ANN. LAWS ch. 93, § 1); Michigan (MICH. COMP. LAWS ANN.
§ 445.784(2)); Missouri (MO. ANN. STAT. § 416.141); Nebraska (NEB. REV. STAT. § 59-829);
Nevada (NEV. REV. STAT. § 598A.050); New Hampshire (N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. § 356:14); New
Jersey (N.J. STAT. ANN. § 56:9-18); New Mexico (N.M. STAT. ANN. § 57-1-15); Oklahoma (OKLA.
STAT. ANN. tit. 79-212); Oregon (OR. REV. STAT. § 646.715(2)); Rhode Island (R.I. GEN. LAWS § 6-
36-2(b)); South Dakota (S.D. CODIFIED LAWS § 37-1-22); Texas (TEX. BUS. & COM. CODE ANN.
§ 15.04); Utah (UTAH CODE ANN. § 76-10-926); Virginia (VA. CODE ANN. § 59.1-9.17);
Washington (WASH. REV. CODE ANN. § 19.86.920); West Virginia (W. VA. CODE § 47-18-16). See
generally MONOGRAPH NO. 15, supra note 3, at 102 (summarizing approaches of various states).
11. See, e.g., Alabama (Ex parte Rice, 67 So. 2d 825, 829 (Ala. 1953)); Alaska (West v. Whitney-Fidago
Seafoods, 628 P.2d 10, 14 (Alaska 1981)); California (In r e Cipro Cases I & II, 2011 Cal. App.
LEXIS 1353, at *21 (Cal. Ct. App. 2011) (“‘Since the Cartwright Act and the federal Sherman Act
share similar language and objectives, California courts often look to federal precedents under the
Sherman Act for guidance.’”)); Knevelbaard Dairies v. Kraft Foods, 232 F.3d 979, 985 (9th Cir.
2000)); Idaho (Pope v. Intermountain Gas, 646 P.2d 988, 994 (Idaho 1982)); Indiana (Photovest
Corp. v. Fotomat Corp., 606 F.2d 704, 721 n.27 (7th Cir. 1979); Orion’s Belt, Inc. v. Kayser-Roth
Corp., 433 F. Supp. 301, 302 (S.D. Ind. 1977)); Minnesota (Keating v. Philip Morris, Inc., 417
N.W.2d 132, 136 (Minn. Ct. App. 1987)); Mississippi (NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co., 393 So.
2d 1290, 1301 (Miss. 1980), rev’d on other grounds, 458 U.S. 886 (1982)); New York (Anheuser-
Busch, Inc. v. Abrams, 520 N.E.2d 535, 539 (N.Y. 1988); State v. Mobil Oil Corp., 344 N.E.2d 357,
359 (N.Y. 1976)); North Carolina (Rose v. Vulcan Materials Co., 194 S.E.2d 521, 530 (N.C. 1973));
Ohio (C.K. & J.K., Inc. v. Fairview Shopping Ctr., 407 N.E.2d 507, 509 (Ohio 1980)); South
Carolina (Drs. Steuer & Latham, P.A. v. Nat ional Med. Enters., 672 F. Supp. 1489, 1521 (D.S.C.
1987), aff’d mem., 846 F.2d 70 (4th Cir. 1988)); Tennessee (State ex rel. Leech v. Levi Strauss &
Co., 1980 WL 4696 (Tenn. Ch. 1980)); Wisconsin (Grams v. Boss, 294 N.W.2d 473, 480 (Wis.
12. ALA. CODE §§ 8-22-1 to 18; MD. CODE ANN. COM. LAW § 10-304.1; MO. REV. STAT. §§ 416.600 to
635; 73 PA. CONS. STAT. ANN. § 202-1; WIS. STAT. § 100.30; see also Flying J. v. Hollen, 621 F.3d
658 (7th Cir. 2010) (upholding Wisconsin below-cost pricing statute).
13. NEV. REV. STAT. §§ 597.120-597.262; N.J. STAT. ANN. §§ 33:1-97.
14. MO. REV. STAT. §§ 416.410-.560; NEV. REV. STAT. §§ 584.568-584.590; OHIO REV. CODE
§ 1331.15; VT. STAT. ANN. tit. 6 § 2751.
15. 73 PA. CONS. STAT. ANN. § 203-1 to 11; W. VA. CODE §§ 47-11 D-1 to 47-11 D-4.
16. IND. CODE ANN. § 24-1-2-12; 62 PA. STAT. ANN. § 4501-4509.

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