Ballard Spahr is representing the City of Richmond in a lawsuit, filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, alleging that numerous chemical companies and individuals violated federal antitrust laws by conspiring to increase the prices of aluminum sulfate purchased by the City.

The lawsuit stems from a criminal investigation into the aluminum sulfate industry that has resulted in several parties pleading guilty to federal charges of price fixing and bid rigging. Aluminum sulfate is a chemical purchased in bulk by municipalities, including Richmond, to treat water.

Ballard Spahr lawyers Jay N. Fastow, Edward D. Rogers, Constantinos Panagopoulos, Jason A. Leckerman, Justin W. Lamson, and Thomas J. Gallagher IV represent Richmond in the lawsuit.

Richmond’s lawsuit alleges that executives of the aluminum sulfate companies met to discuss their businesses and formulated a plan to suppress competition. It includes allegations that the companies intentionally submitted losing bids or withdrew winning bids, and unlawfully discussed the price and terms of their quotes.

The complaint alleges that the defendants violated federal antitrust law and the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Antitrust law allows a successful plaintiff to recover three times its damages. While the lawsuit was filed in Virginia, it likely will be transferred for pre-trial proceedings to the federal court in Newark, New Jersey, where dozens of similar suits arising from the alleged scheme are coordinated in multidistrict litigation. A trial would take place in Richmond.



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