After a seven-month civil trial, an eight-person jury returned a unanimous antitrust verdict against National Polystyrene Recycling Co., finding that the company fixed prices for post-consumer PS. The jury awarded $794,568 to Pasco Industries Inc., triple the damages sought by the Denver-based recycler, in what they found to be a violation of Arizona antitrust laws.
An NPRC official said the company will appeal the verdict.
The suit was filed against NPRC, a limited partnership consisting of virgin PS resin suppliers Amoco Chemical Co., Mobil Chemical Co., Arco Chemical Co., Chevron Chemical Co., Dow Chemical Co., Fina Oil & Chemical Co., Huntsman Chemical Co., and Polysar Inc. The suit also named Talco Recycling Inc., a Long Beach, Calif., recycler that does toll work for NPRC, and the Polystyrene Packaging Council Inc.
Pasco President Edwin Blesch had signed a three-year, exclusive contract to supply all the post-consumer PS in Arizona to NPRC's recycling plant in Corona, Calif. After 11 months, NPRC canceled the contract claiming Pasco had failed to live up to the promised delivery quantities.
Eugene Deikman, Pasco's lead trial counsel, charged this claim was a pretext, since Pasco's successors delivered in the following 12 months less than half the amount Pasco had delivered.
Pasco filed civil suit in Phoenix charging the defendants with restraint of trade. The suit alleged that NPRC conspired to keep recycled PS prices artificially high to keep it from competing with virgin PS.
Pasco claimed the real reason for the contract cancellation was NPRC and its eight partners had abandoned NPRC's goal to recycle 250 million pounds of post-consumer PS annually by 1995.
``This jury has found there is clear and convincing evidence that there has been a monopoly to fix prices,'' Deikman said in a telephone interview,
President Joe Granda of NPRC, which is based in Bridgeport, N.J., said he was disappointed by the verdict.
``We said from the beginning that we've done everything lawful and above board and we continue to believe that what we did was correct,'' he said.
``We've always been a company that's beyond reproach and don't want this to taint our image for the future.''