A federal judge in Delaware dismissed a shareholder suit that accused Horizon Lines and six current or former senior officers of misleading investors about a price-fixing conspiracy in the U.S. mainland-Puerto Rico trade.
Horizon still faces civil antitrust lawsuits filed by shippers in the wake of a continuing federal criminal investigation that has sent five former carrier officials – three from Horizon and two from Sea Star Line – to prison for antitrust violations or hiding evidence.
U.S. District Court Judge Harvey Bartle III ruled that the shareholder suit failed to properly allege that officers responsible for public statements about the company’s performance were aware of alleged price-fixing conspiracy in the Puerto Rico trade.
Horizon said it is cooperating with the Justice Department’s antitrust investigation, which prosecutors have said encompasses all domestic ocean trades between the lower 48 states and Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Guam and Alaska.
Horizon agreed last year to pay $20 million to settle civil antitrust litigation in Puerto Rico. Crowley Maritime, another defendant in the case, also has agreed to a settlement.
Those settlements are awaiting court approval. Sea Star has not settled. Trailer Bridge was dismissed from the case on April 30.
Civil antitrust suits filed by Hawaii and Guam shippers against Horizon and Matson Navigation were dismissed last year. A federal judge in Seattle has given plaintiffs until May 28 to refile.
-- Contact Joseph Bonney at firstname.lastname@example.org.