In re Fasteners and Zippers Antitrust Litigation

In re Fasteners and Zippers Antitrust Litigation

Chimicles Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith LLP (CSK&D) filed a class action complaint on behalf of a class of individuals and entities who, from January 1, 1999 to the present (the “Class Period”), purchased fasteners and zippers directly from William Prym GmbH & Co., KG; Prym Consumer USA, Inc.; Prym Fashion, Inc.; YKK Corporation; YKK Corporation of America, Inc.; YKK (U.S.A.), Inc.; YKK Snap Fasteners America, Inc.; Coats plc; Coats North America de Republica Dominicana, Inc.; and/or Scovill Fasteners, Inc. (collectively, “Defendants”). Fasteners and zippers are snaps, hooks and eyes, rivets, eyelets and similar fastening devices (excluding needles) that affix two or more objects together. The Defendants are manufacturers of fasteners and zippers that are primarily used in the garment, apparel and footwear industries. The market for fasteners and zippers is estimated at over $600 million in the United States alone.

According to the complaint filed by CSK&D, the Defendants have engaged in a long-running, worldwide cartel and conspiracy to fix the prices of, and allocate customers and geographic territories for, fasteners and zippers. The complaint claims that the Defendants agreed with each other on coordinated price increases, fixed minimum prices, allocation of customers, sharing of markets and exchanging other commercially important and confidential information.

On September 19, 2007, the European Commission (“EC”) announced the results of a nearly six year long investigation into suspected anticompetitive conduct among the major manufacturers of fasteners and zippers. According to the complaint, the investigation by the EC uncovered a long running, multifaceted international conspiracy by the Defendants to fix prices and allocate customers and markets worldwide in the fasteners and zippers industry. As a result of its investigation, the EC imposed fines totaling approximately $456 million on several of the Defendants. According to the complaint, certain members of the board of management of the Prym Defendants admitted to their participation in the conspiracy.

The complaint alleges that the Defendants violated Section 1 of the Sherman Act. The antitrust class action seeks treble damages, injunctive relief, and attorney’s fees and costs.

The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Ligigation recently transferred the complaint filed by C&T and other related actions to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

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Attorneys for this case:

Benjamin F. Johns
Kimberly M. Donaldson-Smith
Timothy N. Mathews