WASHINGTON (March 10, 2009)—Marine hose manufacturer Parker ITR has established a fund in London to compensate non-U.S. purchasers of rubber marine hose, in what attorneys called the first private resolution of a company's global cartel liability without arbitration.
Parker has paid an amount representing 16 percent of its non-U.S. marine hose sales between 2002 and 2007 into an escrow fund for purchasers who can put in claims for reimbursement in exchange for agreeing not to sue Parker and its parent and affiliate companies. A number of major marine hose purchasers, including oil companies, already have signed on to the claims agreement, according to Washington-based law firm Hausfeld L.L.C., which negotiated the settlement.
The conspiracy to fix prices, rig bids and assign market share in the marine hose industry began in the mid-1980s and continued until U.S. Justice Department investigators broke it up in May 2007. Besides Parker, other companies in the cartel were Dunlop Oil & Marine Ltd., Bridgestone Corp., Trelleborg Industrie S.A., Manuli Rubber Industries S.p.A. and Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd.
All cartel members except Manuli have settled their U.S. liability in a class action settlement of more than $21 million, said Michael Hausfeld, senior partner of Hausfeld L.L.C. When asked if Manuli might consider an agreement such as Parker's, Hausfeld said, “It depends on how reasonable and sensible they wish to be.”