Kohn, Swift & Graf’s Philadelphia-based antitrust lawyers represent businesses and individuals harmed by bid rigging schemes. Bid rigging is a conspiracy or collusion by companies bidding for business contracts. The companies arrange for a particular business to win the contract by agreeing that:
• one or more competitors will refrain from bidding for the contract (bid suppression), or
• one or more competitors will submit bids that will not be accepted for price or other reasons (cover, courtesy, or complementary bidding)
Bid rigging conspiracies that extend to more than one contract may also involve an agreement that competitors will take turns submitting the lowest bid (bid rotation). The intent and most frequent effect of a bid rigging conspiracy is increased profit for the winning company and increased cost for the entity awarding the contract.
Bid Rigging Laws
Bid rigging is one of the most common antitrust violations and a per se violation of the Sherman Act. A per se Sherman Act violation is one that always or almost always harms competition. For this reason, proof of the existence of a bid rigging conspiracy, alone, is sufficient to establish a violation of the Sherman Act.
This is distinguished from other activities whose anti-competitive effects may or may not violate the Act. Courts follow the “rule of reason” in these cases to determine if a particular activity was sufficiently anti-competitive to constitute a Sherman Act violation. Rule of reason analysis involves a weighing of pro-competitive and anti-competitive effects to decide if an activity unreasonably restrained trade.
Bid rigging also violates the antitrust laws of many states.
Big Rigging Lawsuits
Businesses and consumers may seek damages as well as injunctive relief for harm suffered as a result of a bid rigging conspiracy. Federal bid rigging actions award plaintiffs three times their actual damages (treble damages), attorneys’ fees, and other costs associated with the action. Treble damages and injunctions against further bid rigging activity are intended to deter violators from future bid rigging.
Contact an Antitrust Lawyer
Bid rigging restrains competition and increases costs to businesses as well as consumers. If you believe you are the victim of a bid rigging scheme or other antitrust violation, contact Kohn, Swift & Graf’s national antitrust attorneys for an evaluation of your case without charge.