LAKEWOOD, N.J. — Component Hardware Group Inc. announced that it has reached a settlement with plaintiffs in the antitrust class action titled In re Food Service Equipment Hardware Antitrust Litigation, Case No. 1:10-cv-1849-WSD (N.D.Ga.). This litigation arises out of allegations that certain manufacturers and/or distributors of food service equipment products engaged in anticompetitive behavior from 2004 to 2009, including unlawfully allocating customers among themselves.
This class action was filed shortly after the U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, issued a press release announcing that Kason Industries Inc., a supplier of walk-in refrigeration and food-service components, had agreed to plead guilty to violating the antitrust laws. The Department of Justice’s investigation of Kason was prompted by CHG’s notification to the Department of Justice of certain communications between CHG and Kason discovered by interim senior management at CHG in early 2009. CHG has cooperated fully with the Department of Justice’s investigation, and does not expect to be charged with any offense arising from these matters, nor pay any fines or penalties.
To resolve the plaintiffs’ claims in the civil class action, CHG has agreed to pay $800,000 in cash in two installments and to provide a 2.75% rebate to participating class members over two years for certain products. CHG estimates that the total value of the rebate is $1.7 million, bringing the total value of the settlement to $2.5 million. Although CHG denies liability, it reached this settlement to avoid the costs and burdens of defending the class action. The settlement awaits court approval as the plaintiffs continue to pursue antitrust claims against Kason and others.
CHG designs, manufactures and distribute premium plumbing and hardware products. The company creates solutions for the foodservice, institutional, healthcare and commercial markets in the following brand divisions: Encore Premium Plumbing, Flame Gard Filters & UL-Fire Rated Access Doors, Saniguard product protection, Keil Refrigeration Hardware, SaniShower hand showers, Regal Ride casters and Top-Line plumbing. Additional information is available at www.chgusa.com.