Sea Star Agrees to $18.5 Million Antitrust Settlement

Sea Star Agrees to $18.5 Million Antitrust Settlement

Sea Star Line is the third carrier to agree to a multimillion-dollar settlement of a class-action civil antitrust lawsuit alleging price-fixing in the U.S. mainland-Puerto Rico trade.

The Jacksonville-based carrier agreed to pay $18.5 million to settle allegations that carriers colluded on prices between 2002 and early 2008, when federal agents raided offices of Sea Star, Horizon Lines and Crowley Maritime.

Horizon Lines previously agreed to a $20 million settlement and Crowley Maritime has agreed to pay a reported $14 million. A fourth carrier, Trailer Bridge, was dismissed from the case in April.

The settlement agreements aren’t necessarily the last word in the case. Individual shippers still have the ability to opt out of the class action and pursue their own cases. Several large shippers have had lawyers monitoring the case in U.S. District Court in San Juan.

Separately from the class-action civil antitrust lawsuit, the Justice Department is said to be continuing a criminal investigation that has already netted guilty pleas that have sent three former Horizon officials and two ex-Sea Star officials to prison for antitrust violations or obstructing justice.

--Contact Joseph Bonney at jbonney@joc.com.