11 July 2011 21:51 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Several polyurethane (PU) customers are seeking to pull out of price-fixing litigation against producers, but the producers maintain the customers only want to protect themselves from divulging information, according to court documents obtained on Monday.
Polyurethane foam customers began suing several producers last year, accusing them of allocating markets and fixing prices.
Beginning on 22 June, several customers have filed notices seeking to have their claims voluntarily dismissed without prejudice.
By having the claims dismissed without prejudice, the customers could re-file their claims against the producers.
The customers did not explain why they were seeking dismissals.
However, the polyurethane producers alleged that the customers filed the notices "in an obvious effort to shield themselves from discovery".
During the discovery phase of the litigation, the customers could be compelled to provide information about their businesses.
According to the producers, the court should not dismiss these individual lawsuits, since it would be inconsistent with the litigation's case management orders.
The dismissals would also threaten the effective management of the price-fixing lawsuits, the producers said.
The court should either throw out the dismissals, or treat them as dismissals with prejudice, a move that would prevent the customers from re-filing their claims against the producers.
However, according to a transcript of a hearing, the court said that a dismissal could be made without prejudice and with the right to bring it back at a later stage.
An order has yet to be filed.
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