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CompressorsIn re: Refrigerant Compressors Antitrust Litigation
Case No. 2:09-MD-02042, ED Michigan April 2014
Hausfeld LLP is counsel for a proposed class of direct purchaser plaintiffs in this antitrust price-fixing class action in which plaintiffs allege that several of the major manufacturers of compressors unlawfully conspired to fix prices of compressors in violation of the Sherman Act. Refrigerant compressors are used primarily in the manufacture of refrigerators and freezers and commercial refrigeration.
On January 9, 2014, the Court preliminarily approved four settlement agreements totaling approximately $48 million. The settlement agreements were entered into the following defendants: (1) Tecumseh Products Company, Tecumseh Compressor Company, Tecumseh do Brasil, Ltda. And their subsidiaries ("Tecumseh"); (2) Embraco North America Inc. and Whirlpool S.A. and their subsidiaries ("Embraco"); (3) Danfoss Flensburg GmbH, formerly Danfoss Compressors GmbH; and (4) Panasonic Corporation, Panasonic Corporation of North America and their subsidiaries ("Panasonic").
The investigation of the refrigerant compressors cartel began in Brazil began near the end of 2008 following a leniency application. In parallel, in February 2009, grand jury subpoenas were issued from the Department of Justice in the United States and the European Commission confirmed that Commission officials carried out unannounced inspections of the premises of producers of compressors in several member states. In September 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice levied fines totaling $140.9 million on Panasonic and Embraco, as both companies pleaded guilty to price-fixing between October 2004 and December 2007 in household and light commercial compressors sold in the United States and elsewhere.
In December 2011, the European Commission published a summary of its decision and fined Danfoss, Embraco, Panasonic, and ACC a combined € 161.2 million for participating in the cartel and granted immunity to Tecumseh under the EC's leniency procedure. The EC determined that the cartel operated in Europe from April 2004 to October 2007.
Competition authorities in Canada, New Zealand, and Chile also have fined various defendants or filed suits in connection with the refrigerant compressor cartel.
For more information, please contact attorney Reena A. Gambhir in our Washington, D.C. Office.
Practice Areas: Antitrust / Competition
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