Carpenter Co., Leggett & Platt Inc. and four other foam makers have agreed to pay a combined $128.5 million to settle with indirect purchasers and exit multidistrict litigation (MDL) accusing the companies of plotting to fix prices. Indirect purchasers filed a motion asking the Ohio federal court overseeing the dispute to preliminarily approve each of six settlement agreements, calling the financial windfall a “substantial” recovery for the class. The settlement covers indirect purchaser claims against Carpenter, Leggett & Platt, Hickory Spring Manufacturing Co. and Mohawk Industries Inc. Vitafoam Inc., Woodbridge Foam Corp. and various affiliates are also included in the deal.
The indirect purchasers told the court the settlement would strengthen their bargaining position with respect to the remaining Defendants and streamline an upcoming trial, which has been scheduled for October. “The settlement agreements between [indirect purchasers] and the settling Defendants are in the best interests of the classes and merit this court’s preliminary approvals,” they wrote. The motion noted that the settlement doesn’t change the remaining Defendants’ liability for damages caused by the alleged conspiracy, including all sales made by the settling Defendants.
The Plaintiffs have accused Carpenter and other foam makers of conspiring since at least 1999 to fix the price of the polyurethane foam, which is widely used as cushioning and insulation in products such as bedding, packaging, flooring and cars. The case involved both the indirect purchaser Plaintiffs and direct purchasers. The direct purchasers — which include a variety of foam, packaging and carpet companies — were set to go to trial against the six foam companies that remained in the case in April, but on the eve of trial, the Defendants agreed to pay $275 million to settle the case. That settlement brought the direct purchasers’ settlement total to $433.1 million.
Nearly half the amount of the settlement comes from Carpenter, which agreed to pay $63.5 million to resolve the suit. Leggett & Platt will pay $26.5 million, while Mohawk will pay $16 million, according to their individual agreements. Hickory Springs, Woodbridge and Vitafoam will pay $10.25 million, $9.5 million and $2.75 million, respectively.
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