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Diversified Glass Alleges Glass Manufacturers Colluded to Impose Energy Surcharges and Diesel Surcharges

Diversified Glass Services Inc. (DGS) filed a lawsuit against Pilkington North America Inc., Nippon Sheet Glass, AGC Group, Asahi Glass Co. Ltd., Saint-Gobain Corp. and Guardian Glass Corp. alleging anti-trust violations on Friday, January 25. The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleges that the manufacturers "collud[ed] on the use and imposition of so-called energy surcharges to overcharge Plaintiff and other direct purchasers."

In the complaint, the Rochester Hills, Mich.-based company writes, "From the year 2000 forward, Defendants repeatedly colluded to impose common energy surcharges, using the same or substantially the same formula."

The company, which is the parent company of Henderson Glass, Great Lakes Claim Services and Saf-Ti Glass Distributors, also references the fines imposed by the European Commision's anti-trust regulators on both Pilkington plc's parent company and Saint-Gobain in 2007, and the fact that in May 2007, "Saint-Gobain informed its shareholders that it would not dispute the EC's antitrust charges that it was a member of a price-fixing cartel within the flat glass industry and would set aside 650 million Euros for price-fixing fines."

DGS goes on to allege that the imposition of "common energy surcharges … in the North American markets … mirrors what Pilkington and its horizontal competitors and co-conspirators implemented in Europe."

The case defines members of the class affected as "all individuals or entities … in the United States that purchased flat glass directly from any of the Defendants, or Defendants' predecessors, subsidiaries, affiliates or agents, and paid energy surcharges relating to natural gas at any time during the period from January 1, 2001, through such time in the future as the effects of Defendants' illegal conduct, as alleged herein, has ceased" and any that "paid energy surcharges relating to diesel fuel during the period from October 16,2005, through such time in the future."

The complaint alleges that the defendants "agreed to fix, peg, raise and maintain natural gas, energy surcharges by adopting a common surcharge formula" and that "the public announcements that preceded the imposition of the surcharges facilitated collusion by allowing Defendants to communicate and signal to each other concerning the surcharges in advance of their imposition."

The plaintiff claim that these allegations constitute a violation of the Sherman Act of 1890 and the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914.

DGS seeks "damages as allowed by law in an amount determined to have been sustained" for itself and the class.

DGS is represented by Peter Safirstein of Milberg Weiss LLP in New York, along with Merrill Davidoff, David Sorenson, Eric Cramer, Matthew McCahill and Michael Dell'Angelo of Berger Montague LLP in Philadelphia and Joseph Saveri and Steven Fineman of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP (with offices in San Francisco and New York).

Officials from Pilkington North America, AGC, Saint-Gobain and Guardian Glass did not immediately respond to requests for comment from™.

CLICK HERE for the full text of the complaint.


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