Freight-forwarding companies accused of participating in an international price-fixing scheme have agreed to pay a total of $197.6 million in 11 separate settlements. This will bring to an end a long-running putative antitrust class action filed by purchasers. Lawyers for the putative class of purchasers filed a motion asking a New York federal judge for final approval on 11 separate settlements with companies that include Agility Logistics Corp., Hankyu Hanshin Express Holding Corp., Kintetsu World Express Inc., United Parcel Service Inc. and others. They said the total $197.6 million settlement – which makes up the second round of settlements in the nearly eight-year-long antitrust litigation over the alleged international price-fixing conspiracies – is fair and reasonable, and gives concrete cash benefits to a putative class made up of hundreds of thousands of customers.

The putative class is made up of hundreds of thousands of customers and businesses that use freight-forwarding services. It includes large businesses like Intel Corp., Apple Inc., Motorola Inc., Nike Inc. and other multinational companies, as well as small businesses and individuals, according to the motion. This second round of settlements will cover claims against Defendants that include Agility Holdings Inc., Agility Logistics Corp. and affiliates; Dachser GmbH & Co. KG; DHL Global Forwarding, DHL Express (USA) Inc., DHL Forwarding Japan K.K. and DHL Japan Inc.; and affiliates for the Japanese, severed-claims only.

The settlement also applies to DSV A/S; Geodis SA; Hankyu Hanshin Express Holding Corp.; Japan Aircargo Forwarders Association (JAFA); Kintetsu World Express Inc. and its U.S. subsidiary Kintetsu World Express USA Inc.; “K” Line Logistics Ltd. and its U.S. subsidiary “K” Line Logistics USA Inc.; MOL Logistics (Japan) Co. Ltd. and its U.S. subsidiary MOL Logistics (USA) Inc.; Nippon Express Co. Ltd. and its U.S. subsidiary Nippon Express USA Inc.; and Nissin Corp. and its U.S. subsidiary Nissin International Transport USA Inc.

Other settling Defendants include Yamato Global Logistics Japan Co. Ltd. and its U.S. affiliate Yamato Transport USA Inc.; Yusen Air & Sea Service Co. Ltd. and its U.S. subsidiary Yusen Air & Sea Service USA Inc.; Jet Speed Logistics Ltd. and affiliates; Panalpina World Transport (Holding) Ltd. and Panalpina Inc.; SDV Logistique Internationale; Toll Global Forwarding USA Inc.; and United Parcel Service Inc. and UPS Supply Chain Solutions Inc. This group of settlements comes more than two years after the New York federal court approved the first round of settlements in August 2013. Those comprised 10 settlement agreements that established a $112 million fund.

The litigation dates to January 2008, when the purchasers – including Mail Boxes Etc. Inc., Precision Associates Inc. and JCK Industries Inc. – first filed suit, alleging numerous freight forwarders were involved in 11 conspiracies to fix prices in violation of the Sherman Act. The purchasers alleged that shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the freight forwarding companies conspired to pass on all post-9/11 surcharges to their customers by agreeing to “fix, inflate and maintain” several subsequently arising surcharges for U.S. Freight Forwarding Services. The alleged agreement encompassed all new surcharges from carriers.

The purchasers are represented by Steven N. Williams and Adam J. Zapala of Cotchett Pitre & McCarthy LLP, W. Joseph Bruckner, Heidi M. Silton and Craig S. Davis of Lockridge Grindal Nauen PLLP, Daniel E. Gustafson, Daniel C. Hedlund, Michelle J. Looby and Joshua Rissman of Gustafson Gluek PLLC, and Christopher Lovell and Benjamin M. Jaccarino of Lovell Stewart Halebian Jacobson LLP. The case is in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Source: Law360.com

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