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Connecticut AG Files Antitrust Suit Against Snowplow Operators

In October 2011, a Nor’easter deposited an enormous and crippling snowfall across much of the East Coast. Now, two years later, the Connecticut Attorney General has filed an antitrust lawsuit alleging three snow removal companies engaged in an illegal boycott and bid-rigging conspiracy that caused Southbury, Conn., and its taxpayers to pay too much to make the town’s roads safe and passable during that extreme weather event.

The complaint states the three competing snow removal companies —H.I. Stone & Son Inc., S&S Asphalt Paving Inc., and Stone Construction Co. Inc. — had done the town’s plowing for a number of years without a competitive bid process. Shortly before the monster storm hit, the town decided to put the job out for competitive bids. The complaint asserts that the companies reacted to the news by consulting each other and, as the Nor’easter approached, jointly refusing to plow the roads of Southbury unless they got a guaranteed minimum contract that would pay them extra for plowing during the impending storm. In light of public safety concerns, the town acquiesced to their demands.
According to the complaint, when the town later put its 2011–12 plowing contract out for bid, the conspirators continued their pact and refused to compete against each other. The result? The town paid higher prices for essential snow-removal services.
More information appears in the complaint and a Connecticut Attorney General news release.