STAND. COM. REP. NO.1118-02
RE: S.B. No. 1320
Honorable Calvin K.Y. Say
Speaker, House of Representatives
Twenty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2002
State of Hawaii
Your Committees on Consumer Protection and Commerce and Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs, to which was referred S.B. No. 1320, S.D. 2, entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO ANTITRUST,"
beg leave to report as follows:
The purpose of this bill is to permit private actions for unfair methods of competition. In addition, this bill permits private indirect purchaser antitrust class actions.
Testimony in support of this bill was received from the State of Hawaii Attorney General, Consumer Lawyers of Hawaii, and a concerned individual. Testimony in opposition to the bill was submitted by Microsoft Corporation.
Your Committees find that only the Attorney General may bring an action to enforce the antitrust, or unfair methods of competition law. This restriction was the result of a 1999 Supreme Court interpretation of section 480-2, Hawaii Revised Statutes. However, the Attorney General does not have the resources to investigate and litigate all price-fixing claims. This bill amends the law to clearly give businesses and consumers the right to enforce the law if the Attorney General declines to commence an action based on the claim.
Your Committees also find that under current law, only the Attorney General may bring a class action on behalf of indirect purchasers affected by price fixing. Indirect purchasers are persons who bought from intermediaries, who in turn, bought from the parties engaged in the price fixing. This bill would ease the burden on the Attorney General's resources while allowing consumers to enforce the antitrust laws and obtain a remedy for damages suffered as a result of the illegal activity.
Upon further consideration, your Committees have amended this bill to allow the Attorney General to review and prosecute, or decline to prosecute, an indirect purchaser class action before it may be brought by private indirect purchasers.
As affirmed by the records of votes of the members of your Committees on Consumer Protection and Commerce and Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs that are attached to this report, your Committees are in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 1320, S.D. 2, as amended herein, and recommend that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 1320, S.D. 2, H.D. 1, and be placed on the calendar for Third Reading.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Consumer Protection and Commerce and Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs,
ERIC G. HAMAKAWA, Chair
KENNETH T. HIRAKI, Chair