In re Liquid Aluminum Sulfate Antitrust Litigation

Updated: March 01, 2016
Status: Ongoing Case

Filed class action alleging anticompetitive conduct in the liquid aluminum sulfate (LAS) market, a chemical that is essential to water treatment.

On December 11, 2015, Labaton Sucharow LLP filed a class action on behalf of the plaintiff Little River County R.D.A. Water System, alleging that Frank A. Reichl, Chemtrade Logistics Inc., and Chemtrade Chemicals US LLC entered into an unlawful conspiracy to eliminate competition in the liquid aluminum sulfate (LAS) market. In January 2016, Labaton Sucharow filed similar class action complaints on behalf of Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County and Hope Water and Light Commission.

LAS is a widely-used, versatile, and non-toxic chemical, playing an essential role in water and wastewater treatment. LAS is primarily used to treat drinking water, but it is also used in other industrial operations, including, for example, pulp and paper manufacturing.

The case involves claims that water-treatment chemical manufacturers participated in a price-fixing and bid-rigging scheme to inflate and maintain LAS prices between 1997 and 2010. As a result of the conspiracy, the plaintiffs and class members paid more for LAS than they would have otherwise paid in the absence of the collusion during the 13-year conspiracy period.

Defendant Frank A. Reichl, the former General Manager of Water Chemicals and Vice President of Sales and Marketing for defendant General Chemical, admitted to agreeing with co-conspirators not to compete for contracts when he agreed to plead guilty to Sherman Act violations on October 27, 2015. On February 19, 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice issued indictments for water treatment chemical executives Vincent J. Opalewski and Brian C. Steppig for conspiracy charges under the Sherman Act for their participation in the scheme to rig bids and fix prices for LAS.

Labaton Sucharow is prepared to submit its application for a lead counsel or steering committee position on March 7, 2016.

The case is In re Liquid Aluminum Sulfate Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 2687 (D.N.J.). Labaton Sucharow represents Little River County R.D.A. Water System, Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County, and Hope Water and Light Commission. The defendants in the Liquid Aluminum MDL are General Chemical Corporation, General Chemical Performance Products, LLC, GenTek, Inc., Chemtrade Logistics Income Fund, Chemtrade Logistics, Inc., Chemtrade Chemicals Corporation, Chemtrade Chemicals US LLC, and Chemtrade Solutions LLC, GEO Specialty Chemicals, C&S Chemicals, Inc., Kemira Chemicals, Inc., Thatcher Group, Inc., USALCO, LLC, Southern Ionics Inc., and Frank A. Reichl.