This multidistrict litigation arose out of allegations that the defendants conspired to fix, raise, maintain, and stabilize the price of ethylene propylene diene monomer ("EPDM") synthetic rubber at artificially high, noncompetitive levels in violation of federal antitrust law during the Class Period of January 1, 1997 to December 31, 2001
EPDM is a synthetic rubber used primarily in the automotive and roofing industries, but it is also found in glass-run channels, radiators, garden and appliance hoses, tubing, belts, electrical insulation, rubber mechanical goods, plastic impact modifications, thermoplastic vulcanizates, and motor oil additive applications. EPDM is the third-largest type of synthetic rubber consumed worldwide and is popular for its resistance to heat, oxidation, ozone, and weather aging.
The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants conspired to fix, maintain and/or stabilize EPDM prices in the United States in violation section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C § 1, by engaging in collusive discussions, meetings, agreements, and understandings to raise prices to supra-competitive levels in tandem and to stabilize the supply of EPDM from competitors outside the cartel. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants met regularly to discuss EPDM prices-at trade association meetings or at their offices-and engaged in regular written communications with one another to maintain their collusive agreement. The plaintiffs contended that, pursuant to their collusive agreements, the defendants took turns leading EPDM price increases, conferring months in advance of an announced price increase about whose turn it was to raise prices.
Plaintiffs also alleged that defendants sought to cut off new sources of capacity by buying up new production in Asia and eventually setting up market allocation agreements between North American suppliers and those Asian suppliers. The plaintiffs allege the global conspiracy was most effective in the U.S. and Canadian markets where prices were approximately 10-15% higher than in the Western Europe market.
Settlement recoveries exceeded $100 million.