Antitrust Revived - Plaintiff Numbers May be on Upswing
December 2003

An endangered species has a fresh start in the Arizona desert. Antitrust law may be on the verge of a renaissance here after the Arizona Supreme Court, in Bunker’s Glass Co. v. Pilkington plc,1 expanded the pool of potential antitrust plaintiffs to include indirect purchasers injured by anticompetitive conduct. As a result, those conducting business in Arizona are more likely to be sued for antitrust violations, and many more national class action and antitrust lawsuits likely will be filed here.

But even beyond its holding, Bunker’s Glass is important because it is the first published decision since the Arizona Antitrust Act was enacted in 1974 that did not follow federal precedent and instead concluded that the Act is broader in scope than federal antitrust laws. In the last 30 years, courts routinely stated that Arizona antitrust law “mirrored” federal antitrust law or that federal precedent was “dispositive” of claims under Arizona law. This is no longer the case.

Under both Arizona and federal antitrust laws, agreements to fix prices are illegal. But that does not mean anyone who is harmed by price-fixing has a civil claim for violation of the antitrust laws. The issue of when indirect purchasers should be allowed to sue is a complex one.

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