Antitrust Remedies

The U.S. federal antitrust laws may be enforced as both civil and criminal violations. Only the United States Department of Justice has criminal jurisdiction. In general, only hard core, per se violations are prosecuted criminally. The FTC, state governments, and private parties, along with the Department of Justice may assert civil claims.

Criminal Penalties

Fines: The maximum criminal fine is $100,000,000 for corporations and $1,000,000 for individuals.

Imprisonment: Individuals may also be imprisoned for up to 10 years, in addition to any fine imposed, and the Department of Justice regularly seeks imprisonment in criminal cases.

Civil Remedies

Compensatory Damages: Plaintiffs, except foreign states, may recover three times their compensatory damages. Foreign states are limited to actual damages.

Fines: The Federal Trade Commission may impose fines of up to $10,000 per violation of an FTC cease and desist order.

Injunctive Relief: The federal courts are empowered to enjoin antitrust violations and to issue injunctive orders that safeguard against continuing violations.

Attorney’s Fees: Prevailing parties in antitrust cases may recover attorney’s fees.

Forfeiture: Property owned by a combination of firms violating Section 1 of the Sherman Act may be forfeited if transported across state lines. This provision has rarely been used.