Polyurethane foam makers in $128.5 mln US price-fixing accords

Mon Jun 22, 2015 6:00pm EDT
 
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June 22 (Reuters) - Carpenter Co, Leggett & Platt Inc , Mohawk Inc and three other makers of polyurethane foam agreed to pay as much as $128.5 million to settle lawsuits accusing them of conspiring to fix prices.

The preliminary settlements with so-called indirect purchasers were disclosed on Friday in the federal court in Toledo, Ohio, and require court approval.

Earlier settlements with other groups of plaintiffs in the nationwide litigation totaled $433.1 million.

Polyurethane foam is used as cushioning and insulation to make such products as automobile seats, carpet underlay and furniture.

Producers of such items accused foam manufacturers of violating the federal Sherman antitrust law by conspiring to coordinate the timing and size of price increases.

According to court papers, the latest settlements included $63.5 million from Carpenter, $26.5 million from Leggett, $16 million from Mohawk, as much as $10.25 million from Hickory Springs Manufacturing Co, $9.5 million from Woodbridge Foam Corp and $2.75 million from Vitafoam Inc.

The accords cover purchasers of products containing flexible polyurethane foam since Jan. 1, 1999. These purchasers won class-action status in April 2014.

Part of the litigation continues, and a trial is scheduled to begin in October, court papers show.b

Carpenter did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Marvin Miller, a lawyer for the indirect purchasers, declined to comment.

The case is In re: Polyurethane Foam Antitrust Litigation, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio, No. 10-md-02196. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Andrew Hay)