DIPF Direct Purchaser Settlement
www.DIPFDirectSettlement.com

Frequently Asked Questions

Helpful Hint: Using the general subject of your question may provide the best search results. For example, enter the word "hearing" in the search box to find information about the Settlement's Fairness Hearing.

BASIC INFORMATION

1. WHY DID I GET A NOTICE?

You or your company may have purchased DIPF directly from one or more of the defendants during the period from and including January 11, 2008, up to and including December 31, 2013.

The Court has directed that the Notice be sent to you because, as a possible member of the settlement class, you have the right to know about the McWane Settlement in this class action lawsuit and about all your options before the Court decides whether to approve the McWane Settlement.

The Notice explains the lawsuit, the McWane Settlement, and your legal rights.

The Court supervising the case is the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. The case is called In re Ductile Iron Pipe Fittings (“DIPF”) Direct Purchaser Antitrust Litigation, Civ. No. 12-711. The people who sued are the plaintiffs, and the companies they sued are called defendants. The defendant that has agreed to this proposed settlement is McWane. Earlier settlements had been reached with defendants SIGMA and Star, and those settlements have already been approved by the Court.

(collapse all)

2. WHAT IS THIS LAWSUIT ABOUT?

The lawsuit alleges that (i) defendants entered into price-fixing agreements in the alleged market for Open-Spec DIPF in the United States in violation of the antitrust laws, (ii) McWane monopolized the alleged market for Domestic DIPF in the United States in violation of the antitrust laws, and (iii) SIGMA and McWane conspired to restrain trade and to monopolize the alleged market for Domestic DIPF in the United States in violation of the antitrust laws. The lawsuit claims that, as a result, plaintiffs paid more for Open-Spec DIPF and Domestic DIPF purchased from defendants than they otherwise would have paid.

Defendants have denied all these claims, deny any wrongdoing, and have asserted various defenses to the claims. The Court has not made any decision as to the merits of the plaintiffs’ allegations.

(collapse all)

3. WHO ARE THE DEFENDANTS?

The Defendants are: McWane, Inc., and its divisions, Clow Water Systems Co., Tyler Pipe Company, and Tyler Union; SIGMA Corporation and SIGMA Piping Products Corporation; and Star Pipe Products, Ltd.

(collapse all)

4. WHY IS THIS A CLASS ACTION?

In a class action, one or more individuals or entities, called class representatives, sue on behalf of others who have similar claims. The class representatives in this case are the City and County of Denver; Coastal Plumbing Supply Company Inc.; GCO, Inc. f/k/a Groeniger & Co.; HI Line Supply Co. Ltd.; John Hoadley & Sons, Inc.; Mountain States Supply LLC; and Mountainland Supply LLC. An additional entity, Public Works Supply Co., Inc., served as a class representative until May 2016. Each of the current and former class representatives devoted significant time and effort to the case by collecting and searching their company documents for production to the Defendants, and responding to written interrogatories served by the Defendants. All but Public Works prepared and sat for depositions.

The class representatives and the individuals or entities with similar claims are individually class members, together comprising a class. One court resolves the settlement-related issues for all class members, except for those who exclude themselves from the settlement. U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson is in charge of this class action.

(collapse all)

5. WHY IS THERE A PROPOSED SETTLEMENT WITH MCWANE?

McWane has denied all liability and wrongdoing in this case and has asserted various defenses to the plaintiffs’ claims. The Court did not decide in favor of the plaintiffs or McWane. Instead, both sides agreed to the McWane Settlement. That way, they avoid the cost and risk of a trial, and the class members affected will get compensation. The class representatives and class counsel think the McWane Settlement is the best result for all class members.

(collapse all)

WHO IS AFFECTED BY THE MCWANE SETTLEMENT

To see if you are affected by the McWane Settlement, you first have to determine if you are a class member.

6. HOW DO I KNOW IF I AM PART OF THE MCWANE SETTLEMENT?

Judge Thompson has decided that for purposes of the McWane Settlement, there are three settlement classes:

(1) All persons or entities in the United States that purchased Open-Spec DIPF directly from any Defendant at any time from January 11, 2008, through September 21, 2009;

(2) All persons or entities in the United States that purchased Domestic DIPF directly from McWane or SIGMA at any time from September 22, 2009, through December 31, 2013; and

(3) All persons or entities in the United States that purchased Domestic DIPF directly from McWane at any time from September 22, 2009, through December 31, 2013.

Excluded from the McWane Settlement Classes are defendants and their parents, subsidiaries and affiliates, whether or not named as a defendant in this action, federal governmental entities, and instrumentalities of the federal government.

Also excluded from the McWane Settlement Classes are certain companies that have otherwise agreed to exclude themselves from the Settlement. Those excluded companies are listed on Exhibit 1 of the notice.

(collapse all)

7. I AM STILL NOT SURE IF I AM INCLUDED.

If you are still not sure if you are a class member, you can ask for free help. See FAQ 24 below.

(collapse all)

THE BENEFITS OF THE MCWANE SETTLEMENT

8. WHAT DOES THE MCWANE SETTLEMENT PROVIDE?

Under the McWane Settlement, McWane has agreed to pay $8,787,500 in cash (“the McWane Settlement Fund”). McWane has agreed to pay the Settlement Amount into an escrow account on or before December 8, 2017.

(collapse all)

9. HOW DO I GET A PAYMENT?

If you are a Settlement class member and do not exclude yourself from the Settlement, you may be eligible to receive a payment. To qualify for a payment, you must send in a Claim Form, which is available here. Please read the instructions carefully.

You must fill out the Claim Form and include all the information the form asks for. Be sure to sign it, and mail it by first- class mail in the enclosed envelope postmarked no later than June 9, 2018 to the address below.

DIPF Direct Purchaser Antitrust Litigation
c/o GCG
P.O. Box 10220
Dublin, OH 43017-5720

If the Court approves the Settlement (see “The Court’s Fairness Hearing” below), payments from the McWane Settlement Fund will be distributed at a later date to members of each class who submit valid and timely claims. In the interim you should maintain all of your records of purchases of DIPF from defendants during the period January 11, 2008 through December 31, 2013.

There are specialized companies that may offer to fill out and file your claim in return for a percentage of the value of your claim. The Court has not authorized any of these companies to contact you. Before you sign a contract with one of these companies, you should examine the claim-filing process provided here and decide whether using a specialized company is worth the cost. You can always seek help free of charge from the Claims Administrator or Class Counsel.

(collapse all)

10. HOW MUCH WILL MY PAYMENT BE?

Class Counsel has proposed a Plan of Allocation describing the division of the McWane Settlement Fund among class members.

Under the Plan of Allocation, part of the McWane Settlement Fund will be used to pay attorneys’ fees and expenses approved by the Court, as well as incentive awards for each of the current and former class representatives, whose participation and contribution to the case is described in FAQ 4 above. The remaining amounts (the “Net McWane Settlement Fund”) will be distributed to class members that submit valid and timely claims.

The Net McWane Settlement Fund will be distributed on a pro rata basis among all members of the McWane Classes who submit valid and timely claim forms for purchases of Open-Spec DIPF from January 11, 2008, through September 21, 2009, from SIGMA, McWane, or Star and for purchases of Domestic DIPF from September 22, 2009, through December 31, 2013 from SIGMA or McWane. In other words, each McWane Settlement class member shall be paid a percentage of the Net McWane Settlement Fund that each class member’s recognized claim bears to the total of all recognized claims submitted by all McWane Settlement class members who file claims.

As further described below, if a class member excludes itself from the McWane Settlement Class, it will not be able to share in the distribution from the net settlement fund for the settlement from which the class member elects to be excluded.

If you wish to object to the Plan of Allocation, you must file your objection by April 20, 2018 as described in FAQ 17 below.

(collapse all)

11. WHEN WILL I RECEIVE A PAYMENT?

The McWane Settlement Fund will be distributed to class members at a later time after the claim forms are distributed and processed by a Claims Administrator and the Court has authorized distribution.

(collapse all)

12. WHAT AM I GIVING UP TO GET A PAYMENT OR STAY IN THE SETTLEMENTS?

Unless you exclude yourself or have already excluded yourself from the McWane Settlement, you are staying in the Settlement, and that means that you cannot sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against McWane about the legal issues in this case. It also means that all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you.

In exchange for the consideration provided, the Settlement Agreement provides that there will be a release of claims against McWane and the Releasees (as defined in ¶ 29 of the McWane Settlement Agreement). The McWane Settlement Agreement, however, does not release any Claims relating to indirect purchases of DIPF, any claims based upon purchases of DIPF brought by the State of Indiana, or claims relating to DIPF arising in the ordinary course of business for any product defect, product performance, or breach of warranty or for breach of contract based on product defect, product performance, or warranty, relating to DIPF. The Settlement Agreement with McWane provides the specific and full terms of the releases as to McWane, but broadly the Agreement completely releases, acquits, and forever discharges McWane and the Releasees from any and all other claims arising at any time prior to the Execution Date of the Settlement Agreement under antitrust, unfair competition, or similar laws relating to the supply, pricing, marketing, distribution, and sale of DIPF.

The McWane Settlement Agreement, which is available here, more fully describes the legal claims that you give up if you stay in the class.

(collapse all)

EXCLUDING YOURSELF FROM THE MCWANE SETTLEMENT

If you want to keep the right whether to sue or continue to sue McWane on your own about the legal issues being resolved in this case, then you must take steps to get out of the McWane Settlement. This is called excluding yourself— or sometimes referenced as “opting out.” If you opt out of the McWane Settlement, you will not receive any payment from the Net McWane Settlement Fund.

13. HOW DO I GET OUT OF THE MCWANE SETTLEMENT?

To exclude yourself from the McWane Settlement, you must send a letter saying that you want to be excluded from the settlement. The letter must include the following information:

  • A statement indicating that you want to be excluded from the McWane Settlement.
  • The case name: In re Ductile Iron Pipe Fittings (“DIPF”) Direct Purchaser Antitrust Litigation, Civ. No. 12-711 (D.N.J.).
  • Your name, address, telephone number, and your signature.
  • All trade names or business names and all addresses (including any addresses that have received shipments of DIPF from defendants) you or your business have used, as well as any subsidiaries or affiliates who are requesting to be excluded from the class.

Your letter must be postmarked by April 10, 2018 and sent to:

DIPF Direct Purchaser Antitrust Litigation
c/o GCG
PO Box 10220
Dublin, OH 43017-5720
Phone: 1-888-298-6316
www.DIPFDirectSettlement.com

If you ask to be excluded from the McWane Settlement you will not get any payment from the Net McWane Settlement Fund and you cannot object to the McWane Settlement.

Unless you exclude yourself, if the McWane Settlement is approved by the Court, you give up any right to sue McWane for the claims that the McWane Settlement resolves. If you have a pending lawsuit against McWane involving the same legal issues in this case, speak to your lawyer in that case immediately. (You must exclude yourself from the class in order to continue your own lawsuit against McWane.)

(collapse all)

14. IF I EXCLUDE MYSELF, CAN I RECEIVE MONEY FROM THE MCWANE SETTLEMENT?

No. If you decide to exclude yourself from the McWane Settlement, you will not be able to receive money from the Settlement.

(collapse all)

THE LAWYERS REPRESENTING YOU

15. DO I HAVE A LAWYER IN THIS CASE?

Yes. The Court has appointed Robert N. Kaplan of Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP and Kit A. Pierson of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC (“Class Counsel”) to represent the class on an interim basis and for purposes of the McWane Settlement. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer and have that lawyer appear in court for you concerning the McWane Settlement, you may hire one at your own expense.

(collapse all)

16. HOW WILL THE LAWYERS BE PAID?

You are not personally responsible for payment of attorneys’ fees or expenses for Class Counsel. At this time, Class Counsel will ask the Court to approve from the McWane Settlement Fund an award of up to $2,929,166.67 (one-third of the total amount of the McWane Settlement) for attorneys’s fees, in addition to reimbursement from the McWane Settlement Fund, not to exceed $1,200,000.00, for Class Counsel’s out-of-pocket costs and expenses incurred in the prosecution of the lawsuit. Class Counsel will also seek incentive awards of no more than $15,000.00 for each of the eight entities who served as proposed class representatives while the case was pending (whose role and contribution to the case is described in FAQ 4, above).

(collapse all)

OBJECTING TO THE MCWANE SETTLEMENT, THE PLAN OF ALLOCATION OR THE REQUEST FOR FEES, EXPENSES AND INCENTIVE AWARDS

You can tell the Court that you don’t agree with the McWane Settlement, or the Plan of Allocation, or the Request for Fees, Expenses, and Incentive Awards.

17. HOW DO I TELL THE COURT THAT I DON’T LIKE THE MCWANE SETTLEMENT OR THE PLAN OF ALLOCATION OR THE REQUEST FOR FEES, EXPENSES, OR INCENTIVE AWARDS?

You can object to the McWane Settlement if you are a member of an appropriate settlement class or settlement classes and have not opted out of that settlement class. You can object if you do not like any part of the McWane Settlement, or if you disagree with the Plan of Allocation or the Request for Fees, Expenses or Incentive Awards. You can give reasons for your objections. The Court will consider your views, but the Settlement may still be approved in spite of your objections.

To object, you must send a letter to the Court that includes the following:

  • A statement indicating that you object to the McWane Settlement, or the Plan of Allocation or the Request for Fees, Expenses, or Incentive Awards, in In re Ductile Iron Pipe Fittings (“DIPF”) Direct Purchaser Antitrust Litigation, Civ. No. 12-711 (D.N.J.).
  • Your name, address, telephone number, and your signature.
  • The reasons you object.
  • Proof of your membership in the settlement class, such as invoices showing that you satisfy the definition in FAQ 6. You must file the objection with the Court at the following address by April 20, 2018:

Clerk of Court
United States District Court
for the District of New Jersey
402 East State Street
Trenton, NJ 08608

You must also mail copies of the objections to the following attorneys by April 20, 2018:

Counsel for the Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs and the Settlement Classes

Kit A. Pierson
COHEN MILSTEIN SELLERS & TOLL PLLC
1100 New York Avenue NW
Suite 500 West
Washington, DC 20005
Robert N. Kaplan
KAPLAN FOX & KILSHEIMER LLP
850 Third Avenue
14th Floor
New York, NY 10022

Counsel for Defendants McWane, Inc. and its divisions Clow Water Systems Co., Tyler Pipe Company, and Tyler Union

Joseph A. Ostoyich
William C. Lavery
Jana I. Seidl
BAKER BOTTS LLP
1299 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20004
Tel: 202-639-7905
joseph.ostoyich@bakerbotts.com
jana.seidl@bakerbotts.com
william.lavery@bakerbotts.com

(collapse all)

18. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OBJECTING AND EXCLUDING?

Objecting is simply telling the Court that you do not like something about the McWane Settlement, or about the Plan of Allocation, or about the Request for Fees, Expenses, and Incentive Awards. You can object to the McWane Settlement only if you stay in the Settlement Classes. Excluding means that you are removing yourself from the Settlement Classes and will have no right to proceeds from the Settlement from which you exclude yourself. If you exclude yourself from the McWane Settlement, you also have no right to object as to the Settlement because that Settlement no longer affects you.

(collapse all)

THE COURT’ S FAIRNESS HEARING

The Court will hold a fairness hearing to decide whether to approve the McWane Settlement, the Plan of Allocation, and the Request for Fees, Expenses, and Incentive Awards. You may, but need not, attend the hearing. If you do attend you may ask the Court’s permission to speak (see FAQ 21 for instructions), but you do not have to participate in the hearing if you do attend.

19. WHEN AND WHERE WILL THE COURT DECIDE WHETHER TO APPROVE THE MCWANE SETTLEMENT?

The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing at 10:00 a.m. on May 10, 2018, at the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, 402 East State Street, Trenton, NJ 08608. The hearing may be moved to a different date or time without additional notice, so you should check this website before making travel plans. At the Fairness Hearing, the Court will consider whether the McWane Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate and whether to approve the Plan of Allocation and the Request for Fees, Expenses, and Incentive Awards. Judge Thompson will listen to class members who have asked to speak at the hearing. If there are objections or comments, the Court will consider them at that time. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the McWane Settlement, the Plan of Allocation, and the Request for Fess, Expenses, and Incentive Awards. We do not know how long a decision will take to be made.

(collapse all)

20. DO I HAVE TO COME TO THE HEARING?

No. Class Counsel will be prepared to answer any questions the Court may have at the hearing. However, you are welcome to attend the hearing at your own expense. If you send an objection, you do not have to come to court to explain. As long as you mailed your written objection on time as set out in this Notice, the Court will consider it. You may also pay another lawyer to attend, but it is not required.

(collapse all)

21. MAY I SPEAK AT THE HEARING?

You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing. If you wish to do so, you are encouraged to send a letter stating the following:

  • “Notice of Intention to Appear in In re Ductile Iron Pipe Fittings (“DIPF”) Direct Purchaser Antitrust Litigation, Civ. No. 12-711 (D.N.J.).”
  • The position you will take and your reasons.
  • Your name, address, telephone number, and your signature.
  • Proof of your membership in the class, such as invoices showing that you satisfy the definition in FAQ 6.

Your Notice of Intention to Appear must be filed with the Court at the following address by April 20, 2018:

Clerk of Court
United States District Court
for the District of New Jersey
402 East State Street
Trenton, NJ 08608

You must also mail copies of the Notice of Intention to Appear to the attorneys listed in FAQ 17 above, so they are received no later than April 20, 2018.

(collapse all)

IF YOU DO NOTHING

22. WHAT HAPPENS IF I DO NOTHING AT ALL?

If you do nothing, you will remain in the classes for the McWane Settlement. If you remain in the classes, to qualify for a payment you must send in a Claim Form, which is available here. See the discussion under FAQ 9 above for further information.

(collapse all)

GETTING MORE INFORMATION

23. ARE THERE MORE DETAILS ABOUT THE MCWANE SETTLEMENT OR THE PLAN OF ALLOCATION?

This Notice summarizes the McWane Settlement. More details are in the McWane Settlement Agreement. You can get copies of the Settlement Agreement here.

Class counsel will file a motion for final approval of the McWane Settlement, the Plan of Allocation and the Request for Fees, Expenses, and Incentive Awards which will contain additional information. These papers are currently due to be filed by April 10, 2018 and will be available here.

(collapse all)

24. HOW DO I GET MORE INFORMATION?

If you have questions or want more information, you may review this website, contact the Claims Administrator toll-free at 1-888-298-6316, or write to either of the following counsel for Plaintiffs:

Kit A. Pierson
COHEN MILSTEIN SELLERS & TOLL PLLC
1100 New York Avenue NW
Suite 500 West
Washington, DC 20005
Robert N. Kaplan
KAPLAN FOX & KILSHEIMER LLP
850 Third Avenue
14th Floor
New York, NY 10022

(collapse all)