NEW YORK Commercial Metals Co. (CMC) has reached a settlement that will see the steelmaker pay about $4 million to resolve a class-action lawsuit, the company said March 14.
The lawsuit, filed in September 2008, alleged violation of the federal antitrust laws by eight U.S. steel producers through allegedly concerted effort to restrict production. The Irving, Texas-based company has denied any wrongdoing in connection with the claims, but agreed to enter into the settlement to avoid further expense, inconvenience and distraction of burdensome and protracted litigation, it said in a statement.
The original case, filed by Standard Iron Works, Scranton, Pa., in the U.S. District Court for Northern Illinois, claimed that the companies would meet with each other to discuss the need to impose industry production discipline and adjust production rates so the price of steel didnt drop (amm.com, Sept. 16, 2008).
Other defendants in the case are Chicago-based ArcelorMittal USA LLC, Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel Corp., Charlotte, N.C.-based Nucor Corp., Tampa, Fla.-based Gerdau Long Steel North America, Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Steel Dynamics Inc., West Chester, Ohio-based AK Steel Corp. and Lisle, Ill.-based SSAB Americas.
AK Steel and SSAB had no comment. The other companies could not be reached for comment.
CMC said the settlement requires preliminary and final approval by the court, which the company said it expects to receive.
The 2008 lawsuit has altered the tone of steel industry events, heightening sensitivity among attendees, presenters and trade association representatives about engaging in discussions on price movements in the marketplace.