ASTC Antitrust Policy
In March 2019, the ASTC Board of Directors adopted an Antitrust Policy. The policy applies to all ASTC members. The policy is below. Please CLICK HERE to download a PDF of the policy.
It is the policy of the American Society of Trial Consultants (ASTC) and its members to strictly comply with laws and regulations applicable to their activities, including federal and state antitrust laws. It is further the policy of the ASTC to assist its members in complying with federal and state antitrust laws in connection with ASTC activities. ASTC members and leaders are expected to conscientiously adhere to antitrust laws. ASTC will neither knowingly permit nor condone anti-competitive behavior in connection with any ASTC activity.
The antitrust laws seek to preserve a free competitive economy. As a general rule, competitors may not reach agreements or understandings as to the price, the production or the distribution of their products and services. Other types of agreements that unreasonably restrict competition, including opportunities of their competitors can in certain circumstances violate antitrust laws. The antitrust laws also prohibit monopolization and attempts to monopolize when unaccompanied by exclusionary conduct, unfair methods of competition, unfair or deceptive acts or practices, some supplier or purchaser agreements, some joint ventures/mergers/consolidations, and similar activities. A more complete discussion of the antitrust laws can be found in the Sherman Act, Federal Trade Commission Act, Clayton Act, Robinson-Patman Act, and California’s Cartwright Act.
Antitrust laws are often unclear in terms of applicability to any given conduct. Whether or not an antitrust violation exists depends purely on the specific conduct and facts involved in each instance. Notwithstanding the nebulous nature of the antitrust law, penalties for violating them, both civil and criminal, are severe. Certain activities can result in felony criminal convictions with penalties including prison and substantial fines.
ASTC programs are designed and monitored to comply with antitrust law. Every ASTC member, whether organizational or individual, has a duty and responsibility under the law to avoid and prevent antitrust violations. Every ASTC member needs to understand basic antitrust laws, to recognize areas of potential antitrust risk, and to overtly object to and refuse to participate in any activity that poses antitrust risk until that risk is properly assessed and cleared by legal counsel or other qualified advisor.
AREAS OF RISK
It is not possible to provide a complete or specific list of activities that amount to an antitrust violation. However, it is helpful to identify areas of risk, where close attention can be paid to the possible anti-competitive nature of the agreements or activity involve. Some areas of risk include discussions of the following:
ASSOCIATION BOARD AND COMMITTEE MEETINGS
To avoid even the appearance of impropriety, as well as to avoid inadvertent violation of antitrust laws, all association board and committee meetings will be conducted in accordance with our By-Laws and the following rules: