New group of PU foam buyers sue producers in US price-fixing case

07 April 2011 18:46  [Source: ICIS news]

PU foam makers hit with new suitHOUSTON (ICIS)--A new group of buyers has sued flexible polyurethane (PU) foam producers, potentially expanding the price-fixing lawsuit to thousands of consumers and hotels, but the lawyer representing the group had no immediate comment on Thursday.

The new group suing the producers represent consumers who bought mattresses, sofas, carpet padding and other products made with flexible foam, they said in the lawsuit.

Among the group is The Parker Co, the purchasing agent for Met 2 Hotel. Met 2 Hotel owns the JW Marriott Marquis hotel in Miami, Florida.

Because Parker and the others were end users who did not acquire the foam directly from the producers, they are called indirect purchasers.

The so-called direct purchasers have already sued the foam producers. They bought the foam directly from the producers and used it to make mattresses and other products.

They and the indirect purchasers accuse the PU foam producers of fixing prices and allocating market, and both are seeking class-action status.

The indirect purchasers did not estimate the possible size of their class.

However, they said it could number in the thousands. The indirect buyers could come from 31 states as well as the District of Columbia.

They would have bought PU-foam products from 1 January 1999. Damages could exceed $5m (€3.5m), the buyers said.

Marvin Miller, the interim lead counsel for the indirect buyers, did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

The indirect purchasers suing the producers are Parker, Greg Beastrom, Marjean Coddon, Susan Gomez, Joseph Jasinski, Henry Johs, Joseph Lord, Kirsten Luenz, Kory Pentland, Jonathan Rizzo, Catherine Wilkinson and Jeffrey Williams

The producers being sued are Carpenter, Flexible Foam Products, FXI-Foamex Innovations, Future Foam, Hickory Springs Manufacturing, Inoac, Leggett & Platt, Mohawk Industries, Otto Bock Polyurethane Technologies, Plastomer, Scottdel, Valle Foam, Vitafoam and the Woodbridge Group.

Leggett and Otto Bock have both denied the allegations made in the direct-purchaser lawsuit, which were also brought up in the indirect lawsuit.

Many of the foam producers being sued have filed their own price-fixing lawsuits against producers of polyether polyols and toluene di-isocyanate (TDI), the feedstock used to make foam. 

The litigation is pending in the US District Court of Kentucky.

($1 = €0.70)

For more on TDI visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Al Greenwood
+1 713 525 2645

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