McWane Inc. agreed Monday to pay roughly $8.8 million to direct purchasers of iron pipe fittings, settling a potential class action in New Jersey federal court that accused the company of fixing prices and other anti-competitive behavior with two of its peers.
McWane was sued in February 2012 along with Star Pipe Products Ltd. and Sigma Corp. and is the last of the three companies to settle. Sigma settled with the direct purchasers for $4.9 million in May 2015, while Star Pipe settled for $3.6 million in July 2015.
Monday’s filing said McWane will pay more than the other two defendants combined into an escrow account by Friday. The direct purchasers said they reached the agreement after “arm’s length” negotiations and felt they had maximized their recovery.
“Plaintiffs have avoided the potential risks inherent in complex antitrust class action litigation and secured significant benefits for the settlement classes,” Monday’s filing said.
The action consolidated from several related cases in May 2012 claimed the three companies colluded to fix and maintain the prices for the fittings, which are used in municipal water and wastewater systems, between January 2008 and March 2011, and that McWane and Sigma engaged in a second conspiracy to maintain McWane’s dominant spot in the U.S. pipe-fitting market.
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