What Is This Lawsuit About?
The Proposed Settlements are in a class action lawsuit called In re Ductile Iron Pipe Fittings (“DIPF”) Indirect Purchaser Antitrust Litigation, which is pending in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. The lawsuit alleges that (i) Defendants entered into price-fixing agreements for DIPF in the United States in violation of state and federal antitrust laws and state consumer protection laws, (ii) McWane monopolized the alleged market for Domestic DIPF in the United States in violation of federal and state laws, and (iii) SIGMA and McWane conspired to restrain trade and to monopolize the alleged market for Domestic DIPF in the United States in violation of federal and state laws. The lawsuit claims that plaintiffs paid more for DIPF and Domestic DIPF they purchased than they otherwise would have paid. Defendants deny all of plaintiffs’ allegations. The Court has not made any decision as to the merits of the plaintiffs’ allegations. The Defendants are: SIGMA Corporation, SIGMA Piping Products Corporation, Star Pipe Products, Ltd., McWane, Inc., and its divisions, Clow Water Systems Co., Tyler Pipe Company, and Tyler Union.
Why Are There Proposed Settlements With SIGMA and Star?
Both SIGMA and Star have denied all liability and wrongdoing in this case and have asserted various defenses to the plaintiffs’ claims. The Court did not decide in favor of the plaintiffs or SIGMA and Star. Instead, both sides agreed to the SIGMA and Star Settlements to avoid the cost and risk of a trial, and so the class members affected will get compensation. The class representatives and class counsel think the SIGMA and Star Settlements are the best result for all class members. The case is continuing against McWane.
Am I a Class Member?
The SIGMA Settlement has two classes: All persons or entities that reside or have a place of business in the 29 affected States (full list available at www.DIPFIndirectSettlement.com): (1) that purchased DIPF indirectly from any defendant at any time from January 11, 2008, through June 30, 2011; or (2) that purchased Domestic DIPF indirectly from McWane or SIGMA at any time from September 17, 2009, through December 31, 2013.
The Star Settlement has only one class: All persons or entities that reside or have a place of business in the 29 affected States (full list available at www.DIPFIndirectSettlement.com) that purchased DIPF indirectly from any defendant at any time from January 11, 2008, through June 30, 2011.
What Do The Settlements Provide and How Do I Get a Payment?
Under the respective Settlements, SIGMA has agreed to pay $2,005,000 in cash and Star has agreed to pay $641,250 in cash. If you are a class member and do not exclude yourself from the Settlements, you may be eligible to receive a payment. The SIGMA amount is subject to possible reduction under paragraph 51 of the Settlement Agreement.
To participate in the Settlements, you must send in a valid Claim Form, available at www.DIPFIndirectSettlement.com. Be sure to sign the Claim Form and mail it by first-class mail postmarked no later than June 9, 2016 to DIPF Indirect Purchaser Antitrust Litigation, c/o GCG, P.O. Box 10251, Dublin, OH 43017-5751.
If the Court approves the Settlements, payments from the SIGMA Settlement Fund and Star Settlement Fund will be distributed in the future to members of each class who submit valid and timely claims.
Can I Exclude Myself?
If you want to keep the right to sue or continue to sue SIGMA or Star (or both of them) about the legal issues in this case, then you must exclude yourself from the Settlement Class with SIGMA and Star. If you exclude yourself from either or both Settlement Classes, you will not get any payment from the Settlement(s) from which you are excluded.
To exclude yourself, you must send a letter saying that you want to be excluded. Important instructions about how to exclude yourself can be obtained from www.DIPFIndirectSettlement.com. Your letter must be postmarked by May 3, 2016.
How Do I Object?
You can object to either or both of the Settlements if you are a class member and have not excluded yourself.
To object, you must send a letter to the Court. Instructions about how to object may be obtained from www.DIPFIndirectSettlement.com.Your letter must be filed with the Court by May 19, 2016.
What If I Do Nothing?
If you do nothing, you will remain in the classes for both the SIGMA and Star Settlements. If you remain in the classes, to qualify for a payment you must send in a Claim Form.
Who Represents Me?
The Court has appointed Joseph C. Kohn of Kohn Swift & Graf, P.C.; Robert S. Kitchenoff of Weinstein Kitchenoff & Asher, LLC; andDavid Kovel of Kirby McInerney, LLP (“Class Counsel”) to represent the Settlement Classes for purposes of the SIGMA and Star Settlements. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer concerning the Settlements, you may hire one at your own expense.
These lawyers will ask the Court to approve an award to pay for expenses incurred and that will be incurred in the prosecution of the lawsuit in the amount of $459,250 (approximately twenty percent of the SIGMA and Star Settlements). The request for expenses will be available for viewing on the website below once it is filed with the Court. The lawyers are not currently seeking an award of attorneys’ fees or incentive awards for the class representatives. Any request for attorneys’ fees will not exceed one-third of the Settlement funds. You will be given notice if a request for an award of attorneys’ fees or incentive awards is made.
When Will The Judge Decide?
The Court will hold a fairness hearing at 10:00 a.m. on June 8, 2016, at the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, 402 East State Street, Trenton, NJ 08608. If there are objections, the Court will consider them at this time. You may appear at the hearing, but you are not required to do so. The hearing may be moved to a different date or time without notice. You should check the Settlement Website below for updates.
This Notice is only a summary. For more information visit www.DIPFIndirectSettlement.com.