While the Court’s decision on class certification was pending, in September 2017, plaintiffs and the sole remaning defendant, McWane, reached an agreement in principle to settle the case. (As of October 10, 2017, these parties are currently in the process of finalizing the settlement agreement and seeking preliminary approval of the settlement from the Court.)
On May 15, 2012, Judge Thompson of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey appointed Cohen Milstein as co-lead counsel on behalf of a putative class of direct purchasers of ductile iron pipe fittings (“DIPF”).
On February 10, 2014, Cohen Milstein filed an second amended complaint, in which plaintiffs allege that defendants McWane, Inc., Sigma Corporation, and Star Pipe Products, Ltd.—the three principal manufacturers of DIPF representing more than 90% of the United States Market—first conspired to fix the prices of DIPF from at least January 2008 through May 2009. Plaintiffs also allege that from September 17, 2009, through at least January 3, 2012, Defendants McWane and Sigma conspired to monopolize and fix prices in the domestic DIPF Market.
The Federal Trade Commission brought enforcement proceedings against Defendants challenging the same conduct for which Plaintiffs sought relief. As a result of the FTC’s enforcement action, both Sigma and Star entered into consent decrees with the FTC in which they were directed to cease and desist from conspiring to “maintain or stabilize prices” with their competitors.
In May 2015 Sigma Corp. agreed to pay $4.9 million to Plaintiffs, and in July 2015 Star Pipe Products Ltd. agreed to pay roughly $3.6 million to the same group of Plaintiffs.
The case then proceeded to active litigation against the sole remaining defendant, McWane Inc. This included the review of hundreds of thousands of pages of documents and the taking of numerous depositions across the country. The remaining parties then engaged in expert discovery and briefed and argued class certification.
In re Ductile Iron Pipe Fittings (DIPF) Direct Purchaser Antitrust Litigation, Case No. 12-711 (AET)(LHG), United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.