« Cases and Current Investigations

Marine Hose

March 2014

We are acting for an extensive group of purchasers of marine hoses, including some of the biggest oil companies in the world, to recover losses from a global cartel which inflated the price of marine hoses. Marine hoses are specialist oil industry products used to load sweet or processed crude oil and other petroleum products from offshore facilities (for example buoys, floating production storage and offloading systems) onto vessels and to offload them back to offshore or onshore facilities (for example buoys or jetties).

The Cartel

In 2009, the European Commission found that a number of manufacturers of marine hoses (Bridgestone Corporation, Bridgestone Industrial Ltd, The Yokohama Rubber Company Limited, Dunlop Oil & Marine Limited (including ContiTech AG and Continental AG) Trelleborg Industrie SAS, Trelleborg AB, Parker ITR Srl, Parker Hannifin Corporation, and Manuli Rubber Industries SpA) had conspired between at least 1986 and 2008 to allocate tenders, fix prices, fix quotas, fix sales conditions, share geographic markets and exchange sensitive information on prices, sales volumes and procurement tenders.

Our Actions

Proceedings were commenced against Dunlop & Marine Limited in the London High Court in July 2009 by Waha Oil Company, the second biggest oil producer in Libya, seeking damages. Waha subsequently commenced further actions against Trelleborg and Bridgestone for recovery of damages in December 2010. These actions subsequently were resolved.

Previously, in 2009, Hausfeld announced a groundbreaking global settlement agreement with Park ITR regarding its involvement in the marine hose cartel. The settlement allowed any purchaser of marine host 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. That settlement agreement represented 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.

In the U.S., 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). The case has since been fully settled with all settlements, totaly $31.7 million, having been finally approved by the Court as of February 18, 2011.

For further information, please contact Brian Ratner or Anthony Maton.

Candle Wax (Paraffin Wax)

The Cartel 

In October 2008, the European Commission found that wax manufacturers from 10 company groups representing over 75% of the market had participated in illegal price fixing and market allocation for sales of paraffin wax and slack wax for periods during 1992 and 2005. The cartelists included companies from Exxon, ENI, Hansen/H&R, MOL, Respol, RWE, Sasol, Shell, Total and Todapetrol. To access the Commission Decision please click here. 

Our Actions

Proceedings were commenced against companies from the Shell and Exxon groups in the High Court in London in July 2009. On the principle that cartelists are jointly and severally liable for losses arising from the cartel, our thirty clients sought to recover all their losses from Shell and Exxon without the need to claim directly against the remaining members of the cartel. Contribution proceedings were commenced by Shell in November 2009 in which they claimed a contribution to any judgment from all other participants in the cartel. All the proceedings, were ultimately resolved.


For further information, please contact Brian Ratner or Nicola Boyle. 

Polyurethane Foam 

United States

In re Polyurethane Foam Antitrust Litigation

MDL No. 2196 (N.D. Ohio)

Hausfeld LLP represents a proposed class of direct-purchaser plaintiffs who allege that the country's leading manufacturers of polyurethane foam fixed the prices of polyurethane foam and polyurethane-foam products for well over a decade, resulting in significant overcharges to their customers. Polyurethane foam is a cushioning product used in residential and commercial furnishings, including beddings and flooring, automotive interiors, carpet underlay and in hundreds of industrial, medical, packaging and technical applications. The manufacturer defendants, who account for 80 to 90 percent of U.S. slabstock foam sales and more than 90 percent of carpet underlay sales, are located principally in North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, and Canada.

On June 21, 2013, the Court granted final approval of settlements with two defendants. The first settlement, with Defendants Vitafoam Inc. and Vitafoam Products Canada Ltd., provides for an initial payment of $5 million, an additional guaranteed payment of at least $4 million, plus a potential recovery of up to $6 million more at the time of a future Vitafoam recovery in a separate multidistrict litigation proceeding. The second settlement, with Defendant Domfoam International, Inc., provides for significant and meaningful cooperation with Plaintiffs in exchange for voluntary dismissal without prejudice of all claims against the bankrupt corporate Domfoam Defendants and the release of other parties.

The litigation against the remaining defendants continues, with a trial date scheduled for October 2014.


In January 2014, the European Commission fined the five major producers of flexible polyurethane foam - Vita, Carpenter, Recticel, Greiner and Eurofoam - a total of  €114 million for participating in an unlawful price-fixing cartel. The companies colluded to coordinate the sales prices of flexible polyurethane foam for nearly five years, from October 2005 until July 2010, in ten European Member States: Austria, Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and the UK. The cartelists organized price coordination meetings at all levels of European management met on the margins of European and national associations and had numerous telephone and other bilateral contacts. The aim of the cartel was to pass on raw material prices increases of bulk chemicals to customers and avoid aggressive price competition between the five producers.

The EC Decision concerned flexible polyurethane foam, which is mainly used in household furniture such as mattresses or sofas. Applications in the automotive sector - in particular for car seats - also account for around quarter of the total flexible polyurethane foam market in the European Economic Area.

For more information, please contact Megan E. Jones, Brian A. Ratner, or Boris Bronfentrinker. 


Molecular Diagnostics Laboratories v. Hoffmann-LaRoche Inc., et al.

Case No. 1:04-CV-01649 (HHK) (D.D.C.) 

Hausfeld LLP served as co-lead counsel in this antitrust class action brought in September of 2004 on behalf of a genetic diagnostic laboratory that purchased Thermus aquatics DNA polymerase ("Taq") directly from defendants Roche and Applera and their subsidiaries, affiliates, and predecessors. Taq is an enzyme used in the amplification of DeoxyriboNucleic Acid ("DNA") by scientists working with a process known as "polymerase chain reaction" or "PCR." Plaintiff, on behalf of itself and those similarily situated, sought to recover the supra-competitive overcharges it and other direct purchasers paid as a result of defendants; alleged scheme to faudulently obtain a patent on Taq and to use that patent to force competitiors out of the market so defendants could charge monopoly prices for Taq. Plaintiff also claimed that defendants' fraudulent procurement and enforcement of the Taq patent inhibited, among other things, potential advances in molecular biology and patholgy, and the treatment of life-threatening diseases such as cancer, AIDS, and heart disease. Class Plaintiffs and the defendants reached a $33 million settlement in late 2008, which the Court finally approved on December 29, 2008.

For more inforrmation about the case, please contact Brian Ratner

Practice Areas: Antitrust / Competition


Related News

» Parker ITR pleads guilty in US
» Cartel victim sues Dunlop Oil for damages
» Hausfeld Launches Marine Hose Action Against Dunlop in London High Court
» Parker Sets Up Fund to Pay Victims in Hose Case
» Hausfeld Secures Automatic Settlements in Marine Hose Action
» 'Unprecented' Global Settlement Reached with Parker ITR in Marine Hose Cartel
» Groundbreaking Global Cartel Settlement
» Private Settlements Could Gain Steam, Lawyers Say
» Hausfeld Orchestrates 'New Model' for Global Cartel Settlements in Marine Hose Deal
» Hausfeld LLP Announces First-Ever Private Settlement of Global Cartel
» Antitrust Settlement Reached With Parker Hannifin


Related Press Releases

» Hausfeld Launches Marine Hose Action Against Dunlop in London High Court
» Hausfeld LLP Annouces First-Ever Private Settlement of Global Cartel


Supporting Documents

» U.S. Settlement Papers (PDF)
» Order re: Class Certification and Preliminary Settlements (PDF)


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