Masco As previously disclosed, a lawsuit was brought against the Company and a number of its insulation installation companies alleging that certain of their practices violated provisions of the federal antitrust laws during the period 1999 through 2004.
The case was filed in October 2004 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia by Columbus Drywall & Insulation, Inc., Leo Jones Insulation, Inc., Southland Insulators, Inc., Southland Insulators of Maryland, Inc. d/b/a Devere Insulation, Southland Insulators of Delaware LLC d/b/a Delmarva Insulation, and Whitson Insulation Company of Grand Rapids, Inc. against the Company, its subsidiaries Masco Contractors Services Group Corp., Masco Contractor Services Central, Inc. (“MCS Central”) and Masco Contractor Services East, Inc., and several insulation manufacturers (the “Columbus Drywall case”). In February 2009, the court certified a class of 377 insulation contractors.
A trial date in this case had been scheduled in July 2012. The parties in this case reached a settlement in principle in July 2012, in which the Company and its insulation installation companies named in the suit agreed to pay $75 million in return for dismissal with prejudice and full release of all claims, which was recorded by the Company’s the second quarter of 2012. The Company and its insulation installation companies continue to deny that the challenged conduct was unlawful and admit no wrongdoing as part of the settlement. A settlement was reached to eliminate the considerable expense and uncertainty of this suit. The settlement is subject to court approval.
Another suit was filed in March 2003 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia by Wilson Insulation Company, Wilson Insulation of Augusta, Inc. and The Wilson Insulation Group, Inc. (“Wilson”) against the Company, Masco Contractor Services, Inc., and MCS Central that alleged anticompetitive conduct (the “Wilson Case”). Wilson (who is an individual contractor) alleges that certain practices of the Company and its named insulation installation companies relating to the installation of insulation during the early 2000s in Atlanta and Augusta, Georgia violated the federal antitrust and/or state laws. The Wilson case has been removed from the court’s active docket.
In March 2007, Albert Von Der Werth and Valerie Good filed suit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California against the Company, its subsidiary Masco Contractor Services, and several insulation manufacturers seeking class action status and alleging anticompetitive conduct (the “Von Der Werth case”). In the Von Der Werth case, plaintiffs allege that the alleged conspiracy in the Columbus Drywall case indirectly resulted in an increase in the retail price of fiberglass insulation they purchased from retailers from 1999 to 2004. The Von Der Werth case was subsequently transferred to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia and was administratively stayed by the court in February 2010. An additional suit, which was filed in September 2005 and alleged anticompetitive conduct, was dismissed with prejudice in December 2006.
The Company will vigorously defend the Wilson and Von Der Werth cases when they are re-opened by the court. Based upon the advice of its outside counsel, the Company believes that the conduct of the Company and its insulation installation companies, which is the subject of the Wilson and Von Der Werth lawsuits, has not violated any antitrust laws. The Company is unable at this time to reliably estimate any potential liability which might occur from an adverse judgment in either lawsuit. There cannot be any assurance that the Company will ultimately prevail in these lawsuits, or, if unsuccessful, that the ultimate liability would not be material.
Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.