TOLEDO, OHIO — Plaintiffs' attorneys in a class action lawsuit alleging price fixing in the polyurethane foam industry have filed a motion in Toledo federal district court for approval of six settlements worth a total of $275.5 million.
The lead attorneys in the class action — William Isaacson of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP and Stephen Neuwirth of Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart & Sullivan LLP — filed the settlement documents May 19 on behalf of the lawsuit's Direct Purchaser Class.
The Direct Purchaser Class comprises producers of polyurethane foam products — including manufacturers of furniture, automobile seats and carpet underlay — that purchased foam directly from the manufacturers.
Combined with the previous settlements in the case, the Direct Purchaser Class now has reached settlements worth a total of $433 million, according to a news release from the plaintiffs.
The lawsuit, originally filed in 2010, accuses polyurethane foam manufacturers of coordinating their price increase announcements as a way to fix prices.
The alleged price fixing took place between Jan. 1, 1999 and July 31, 2010, according to the suit.
Since its inception, the case has involved hundreds of attorneys filing more than 1,700 court documents to date.
In 2014, Judge Jack Zouhary of the Toledo court certified the suit as a nationwide class action, according to the plaintiffs.
Later that year, a federal appeals court rejected the defendant companies' request to appeal the class certification, and in March 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the defendants' appeal of the appeals court decision, plaintiffs said.
Plaintiffs and six of the defendants reached agreement on the new settlements in March 2015, less than two weeks before a jury trial was scheduled to begin, plaintiffs said.
The companies involved in the new settlement are FFP Holdings, LLC; Foamex Innovations Inc.; Future Foam Inc.; Hickory Springs Manufacturing Co.; Mohawk Industries Inc.; and Woodbridge Foam Corp. with its subsidiaries Woodbridge Sales & Engineering Inc. and Woodbridge Foam Fabricating Inc.
Settling with the plaintiffs before the new settlement were Vitafoam Inc.; Vitafoam Products Canada Ltd.; Domfoam International Inc.; Valle Foam Industries (1995) Inc.; Leggett & Platt Inc.; Carpenter Co.; E.R. Carpenter L.P.; and Carpenter Holdings Inc.
The settlement against Carpenter Co. and its subsidiaries alone was worth $108 million, plaintiffs said.
The settlements achieved by the class action represent more than 50 percent of the highest damages estimate of the class plaintiffs' damages expert, according to the plaintiffs. “Only an exceptionally few antitrust class action settlements have ever achieved similar results,” they said.
A lawyer representing one of the settling companies declined comment on the case, on the grounds that the litigation was ongoing.