In January 2018, Cohen Milstein announced that National Gypsum, Eagle Materials Inc. and PABCO Building Products have agreed to pay $125 million to settle claims that they conspired to raise prices on drywall.  A preliminary motion to approve the settlement has been filed.

Previous settlements with three other companies—Lafarge North America Inc., TIN Inc. (or Temple-Inland) and USG Corp. (and its subsidiaries)—bring the total amount of settlements for direct purchasers in the case to nearly $191 million.

In February 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania denied the motions for summary judgment of all but one defendant, finding plaintiffs had sufficient evidence to proceed with respect to the remaining defendants.  In August 2017, the Court granted direct purchaser plaintiffs’ motion for class certification.

Cohen Milstein is Co-lead Counsel in this antitrust litigation against the leading manufacturers of drywall in the United States. 

Case Background

Drywall, also known as wallboard, sheetrock or plasterboard, is a building material used in over 90% of all new residential and commercial construction projects in the U.S.  Plaintiffs allege that the major drywall manufacturers – American Gypsum, CertainTeed, Lafarge, National Gypsum, PABCO, Temple-Inland, and USG – conspired to manipulate drywall prices.  In the fall of 2011, after the manufacturers failed to implement a series of announced price increases, American Gypsum announced a 35% price increase, effective for all of 2012, and the elimination of a long-standing industry pricing practice called job quotes.  Every other Defendant then made substantially similar announcements, and despite a history of failed price increases and a drab economic outlook of flat demand and excess capacity, they were successful in getting this increase to stick.  Defendants subsequently announced substantial price increases effective for all of 2013, which they also successfully implemented.  As a result of this conspiracy, purchasers of drywall paid significantly more than they would have in a competitive market, free from Defendants’ collusion.

Cohen Milstein filed the first complaint against the drywall manufacturers in December 2012. The case was consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania with other similar cases, and Cohen Milstein was appointed co-lead counsel with Berger & Montague, P.C. and Spector Roseman & Kodroff, P.C.

Defendants USG and TIN, Inc. settled with direct purchasers in February 2015 – USG for $39.25 million and TIN for $5.25 million.  Plaintiffs then defeated motions for summary judgement from four of the five remaining defendants.  Defendant Lafarge subsequently settled with direct purchasers in June 2016 for $23 million, raising the total direct purchaser settlements to date to over $67 million.  

In re: Domestic Drywall Antitrust Litigation, Case No. 2:13-md-02437, U.S. District Court, District of Pennsylvania, Eastern Division