LOS ANGELES (March 2, 2010)-Trelleborg A.B. and 13 other companies and individuals have paid $15.4 million to settle civil suits in a marine hose price-fixing case.
The companies and persons named in the suite allegedly overbilled the U.S. Navy and other federal agencies by price-fixing and bid-rigging in sales of materials used on piers and in marine construction projects, the U.S. District Attorney's Office in Los Angeles said.
The payments are to settle a “whistleblower” lawsuit filed by Douglas Farrow, an executive with a Trelleborg competitor. The suit claimed that between June 2000 and August 2005 Trelleborg and four of its subsidiaries conspired to rig bids, fix prices and allocate market shares for marine fenders and plastic pilings they sold to the Navy and other federal agencies.
Trelleborg paid $14 million to settle the suit, according to a press release from the Los Angeles D.A.'s office. Frank March of Sevierville, Tenn., and two companies he formerly controlled—SHI Inc. and SII Inc.—paid $1 million.
The suit also alleged that Trelleborg; Bridgestone Corp.; Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd.; and Dunlop Oil & Marine Ltd. with related companies Phoenix A.G. and Continental A.G. conspired to rig bids, fix prices and allocate market share in marine hose sold to federal agencies. To resolve those allegations, Bridgestone has paid $178,000, Yokohama $173,000 and Dunlop $97,000. All parties agreed to the settlement without admitting any wrongdoing, the D.A.'s office said.
Under the False Claims Act, Farrow will receive between 15 and 25 percent of the settlement, according to the D.A.'s office.