Three U.S. mainland-Puerto Rico carriers agreed to pay $5.3 million to settle claims with plaintiffs who said they paid inflated prices for goods because of carrier price-fixing between 2002 and 2008.
Horizon Lines said in a financial filing that it, Sea Star Line and Crowley Liner Services each agreed to pay $1,766,667 to settle the claims by indirect purchasers of their services. Plaintiffs’ lawyers will collect $1.3 million, leaving $4 million for the parties they represented.
The indirect-purchasers’ lawsuits, filed in Puerto Rico, are separate from a broader anti-trust class action that consolidated claims by the carriers’ direct customers. The three lines agreed to settle that case for a total of $52.25 million -- $20 million from Horizon, $18.5 million from Sea Star and $13.25 million from Crowley.
Background on Puerto Rico anti-trust suits from JOC:
Default on the Horizon
A number of shippers opted out of the direct purchasers’ class action, a move that allows them to seek separate agreements with the lines. The three carriers have until April 29 to decide whether to go through with the settlement.
The civil lawsuits stem from a criminal investigation that led to Horizon pleading guilty last month to a felony antitrust charge and accepting a $45 million fine. The company said the penalty will put the company in default of bond debt covenants this year unless it can win waivers or amendments from lenders.