1. Every contract, agreement, arrangement or combination whereby
A monopoly in the conduct of any business, trade or commerce or in the furnishing of any service in this state, is or may be established or maintained, or whereby
Competition or the free exercise of any activity in the conduct of any business, trade or commerce or in the furnishing of any service in this state is or may be restrained or whereby
For the purpose of establishing or maintaining any such monopoly or unlawfully interfering with the free exercise of any activity in the conduct of any business, trade or commerce or in the furnishing of any service in this state any business, trade or commerce or the furnishing of any service is or may be restrained, is hereby declared to be against public policy, illegal and void.
2. Subject to the exceptions hereinafter provided in this section, the provisions of this article shall apply to licensed insurers, licensed insurance agents, licensed insurance brokers, licensed independent adjusters and other persons and organizations subject to the provisions of the insurance law, to the extent not regulated by provisions of article twenty-three of the insurance law; and further provided, that nothing in this section shall apply to the marine insurances, including marine protection and indemnity insurance and marine reinsurance, exempted from the operation of article twenty-three of the insurance law.
3. The provisions of this article shall not apply to cooperative associations, corporate or otherwise, of farmers, gardeners, or dairymen, including live stock farmers and fruit growers, nor to contracts, agreements or arrangements made by such associations, nor to bona fide labor unions.
4. The labor of human beings shall not be deemed or held to be a commodity or article of commerce as such terms are used in this section and nothing herein contained shall be deemed to prohibit or restrict the right of workingmen to combine in unions, organizations and associations, not organized for the purpose of profit.
5. An action to recover damages caused by a violation of this section must be commenced within four years after the cause of action has accrued. The state, or any political subdivision or public authority of the state, or any person who shall sustain damages by reason of any violation of this section, shall recover three-fold the actual damages sustained thereby, as well as costs not exceeding ten thousand dollars, and reasonable attorneys' fees. At or before the commencement of any civil action by a party other than the attorney-general for a violation of this section, notice thereof shall be served upon the attorney-general. Where the aggrieved party is a political subdivision or public authority of the state, notice of intention to commence an action under this section must be served upon the attorney-general at least ten days prior to the commencement of such action. This section shall not apply to any action commenced prior to the effective date of this act.
6. In any action pursuant to this section, the fact that the state, or any political subdivision or public authority of the state, or any person who has sustained damages by reason of violation of this section has not dealt directly with the defendant shall not bar or otherwise limit recovery; provided, however, that in any action in which claims are asserted against a defendant by both direct and indirect purchasers, the court shall take all steps necessary to avoid duplicate liability, including but not limited to the transfer and consolidation of all related actions. In actions where both direct and indirect purchasers are involved, a defendant shall be entitled to prove as a partial or complete defense to a claim for damages that the illegal overcharge has been passed on to others who are themselves entitled to recover so as to avoid duplication of recovery of damages.
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