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From Antitrust Law Daily, May 20, 2016

Air India agrees to pay $12.5M to settle air cargo price fixing suit

By Greg Hammond, J.D.

Purchasers of air freight shipping services are asking the federal district court in Brooklyn, New York, to preliminarily approve a $12.5 million settlement with Air India Ltd. that would dispose of claims that Air India and other airlines conspired to fix the prices of air freight shipping services (In re Air Cargo Shipping Services Antitrust Litigation, Dkt. 06-MD-1775 (BMC)(VVP)).

In 2006, alleged direct purchasers of air freight shipping services filed a series of class action suits against Air India, among other airlines, alleging that the airline defendants conspired to unlawfully fix prices of airfreight shipping services worldwide, including on cargo shipments to, from, and within the United States. In particular, the plaintiffs claimed that the airline defendants concertedly levied agreed-upon, artificially-inflated surcharges in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, according to a memo in support of the motion for preliminary approval, Air India will pay $12.5 million into the settlement fund—$6.25 million to be paid on or before June 1, 2016, and another $6.25 million to be paid on or before August 1, 2016.

The class consists of all persons or entities (but excluding defendants, their parents, predecessors, successors, subsidiaries, affiliates, as well as government entities) who purchased airfreight shipping services for shipments to or from the United States directly from any of the defendants or from any of their parents, predecessors, successors, subsidiaries, or affiliates, at any time during the period from January 1, 2000, up to and including September 30, 2006.

The plaintiffs asked the court to grant preliminary approval of the settlement, asserting that the terms of the settlement exceeds the standards for preliminary approval and are fair, reasonable and adequate.

The court has already granted final approval of 25 settlements, totaling more than $1 billion, and preliminarily approved of two additional settlements involving Polar Air Cargo LLC, Polar Air Cargo Worldwide, Inc., and Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. for $100 million and involving Air China Limited and Air China Cargo Company Limited for $50 million.

Attorneys: Robert N. Kaplan (Kaplan, Kilsheimer & Fox, LLP) and Hilary K. Scherrer (Hausfeld LLP) for the plaintiffs. Gary A. MacDonald (Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP), James Vernon Dick (Squire Patton Boggs US LLP) and John R. Fornaciari (Baker & Hostetler LLP) for the defendants.

Companies: Air India Ltd.

MainStory: TopStory Antitrust

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