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Marine HoseMarch 2009
Hausfeld LLP and its London arm, Hausfeld & Co. LLP (collectively “Hausfeld”), represent purchasers of marine hose in the United States, Europe and around the world who seek a recovery of overcharges paid from 1986 to 2007 as a result of a global price-fixing cartel.
Hausfeld recently commenced a London High Court action against cartelist Dunlop Oil & Marine Limited (“Dunlop”) on behalf of Waha Oil Company (“Waha”), the second biggest oil producer in Libya. [See http://www.hausfeldllp.com/pages/inthenews/243/hausfeld-launches-marine-hose-action-against-dunlop-in-london-high-court.] The company made significant purchases of marine hose from Dunlop and the other cartelists during the cartel period. In criminal proceedings brought by the UK Office of Fair Trading (“OFT”), Dunlop executives have already admitted that the overcharge arising from the cartel amounted to at least 15%. Hausfeld has been and is in the process of being instructed by additional claimants seeking to take action against Dunlop.
Hausfeld’s global settlement in March 2009 with Parker ITR (see below and click here for Parker Summary Notice), one of the other marine hose cartelists, provides substantial cooperation benefits to claimants. That settlement, the European Commission’s infringement decision regarding the cartel, and the criminal charges brought by the OFT against individuals involved in the cartel form the basis for this action against Dunlop. Furthermore, in order to allow Waha to bring this action, Hausfeld negotiated an agreement with after-the-event insurer FirstAssist to provide Waha with protection against disbursements and adverse cost risks arising from the case.
Marine Hose Cartel, Government Investigations and U.S. Case
* Marine hose is a flexible rubber hose used to transfer oil between tankers and storage facilities and/or buoys.
* During the period 1986 to 2007 a worldwide cartel existed amongst the leading manufacturers of marine hose to fix, raise, maintain or stabilise the prices of marine hose.
* Alongside Parker ITR s.r.l., the five other cartelists are: Dunlop Oil & Marine Ltd, Bridgestone Corporation, Trelleborg Industry SA, Manuli Rubber Industries S.p.A. and Yokohama Rubber Co Ltd. This cartel is being investigated in the US by the United States Department of Justice, and criminal proceedings have been brought in the United States against certain of the individuals involved in the cartel which have led to guilty pleas and prison sentences for those individuals and guilty pleas by two cartelists (Dunlop and Manuli). [www.usdoj.gov/opa/pr/2008/December/08-at-1055.html]
* In In re: Marine Hose Antitrust Litigation, Master Docket No. 08-MDL-1888 (S.D. Fla.), the Court certified a class consisting of dozens of U.S. purchasers in an order on July 31, 2009 (Click Here to see the order). In that same order, the court also gave preliminary approval to $22 million in settlements covering all of the cartelists except Manuli, as well as settlements with several of the Defendant companies’ individual employees.
* In addition, the UK Office of Fair Trading brought criminal charges against two Dunlop executives and Peter Whittle, a former Dunlop executive who co-ordinated the cartel, in London under the Enterprise Act 2002, which led to prison sentences for the three individuals. [www.oft.gov.uk/news/press/2008/72-08] Additionally the European Commission recently fined the marine hose cartel a total of € 131 million for infringements of the EU competition rules. [europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do]
Parker Global Settlement
Hausfeld LLP and its London arm Hausfeld & Co. LLP recently announced a groundbreaking global settlement agreement with Parker ITR regarding its involvement in the marine hose cartel. The settlement allows any purchaser of marine hose from Parker anywhere in the world, other than direct purchasers of marine hose in US commerce, to claim compensation in respect of losses arising from the cartel, irrespective of where they reside or where the marine hose was purchased from.
This settlement agreement represents the first private resolution of a company’s global cartel liability without any arbitration, mediation or litigation – creating opportunities never before possible for dispute resolution and providing a new model for global cartel settlements going forward.
Major oil company purchasers and other significant marine hose purchasers have already signed or agreed to sign the settlement agreement, which incorporates the following elements:
* Parker ITR has already paid an amount representing 16% of its sale of marine hose during the period 31 January 2002 to 2 May 2007 (the “Settlement Period”), other than marine hose that was sold in US commerce, into an interest bearing escrow fund in London held with Citibank (Parker ITR was owned by other companies prior to 2002 – the pre-existing liability for the cartel remains with those companies);
* In return for giving up rights to sue Parker ITR and its parents or affiliates, purchasers of marine hose from Parker ITR, other than purchasers of marine hose in US commerce, can claim against the fund created by Parker ITR;
* An independent expert will determine how much of that fund goes to each Parker ITR purchaser;
* The presumption is that direct purchasers from Parker ITR during the Settlement Period, other than direct purchasers in US commerce, will be entitled to 16% of purchases in the period unless they have passed on their loss;
* Lawyers, notice and administration fees and costs will be paid by Parker ITR on top of the settlement funds and not out of those settlement funds. Thus, no claimant’s approved recovery from this settlement will be reduced for fees or costs;
* Purchasers from other cartelists will not be entitled to claim against the Parker ITR settlement but, if settling, will obtain the benefit of extensive co-operation from Parker ITR in pursuing claims against other cartelists; and
* Claims will be administered by an independent claims administrator, FRA.
Accordingly, all who settle are entitled to the following from Parker ITR:
* Parker ITR has agreed to guarantee against the payment of adverse costs judgments associated with litigation subsequently initiated outside the United States against any of the co-conspirators; and
* Under wide ranging co-operation obligations, Parker ITR will make available interviews, declarations and affidavits, depositions, testimony at trial and production and authentication of documents that prove the cartel.
Parker ITR’s cooperation under the settlement, the European Commission’s infringement decision regarding the cartel, and the criminal charges brought by the UK Office of Fair Trading against individuals involved in the cartel form the basis for subsequent legal proceedings against Parker ITR’s co-conspirators in Europe. If you are a victim of the cartel, please contact Hausfeld & Co LLP (contact details below) to discuss your legal options in Europe.
This is not a United States opt-out style class action settlement. It is a private opt-in settlement and there is no court approval process. Claimants must sign on to the settlement and release their claims against Parker ITR in order to receive its benefits. Settlement will be way of private contractual agreement between Parker ITR and claimants, on standard terms offered by Parker ITR. All claimants who participate in the settlement may remain anonymous.
If any claimant has direct purchases of marine hose in US commerce from Parker ITR or any other cartelist, they will be able to seek a recovery under settlements reached with US class counsel. US class counsel recently sought preliminary approval of these settlements in the US before a Federal Judge in In re Marine Hose Antitrust Litigation, Master Docket No. 08-MDL-1888 (S.D. Fla.).
For further information on the settlement and how purchasers can sign up to the settlement, please refer to www.marinehoseclaims.com or contact:
Michael Hausfeld or Brian Ratner in Washington, DC at
For further information on Hausfeld’s London action against Dunlop, please contact:
Anthony Maton in London at:
Telephone: (00 44) 20 3170 7725
Fax: (00 44) 20 3170 7729
Practice Areas: Antitrust / Competition
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