Success Story

Antitrust Loss Recovery: Helping Clients Seek Recovery for Overcharges

Ballard Spahr added significant value to its clients in pursing direct actions in the In re Liquid Aluminum Sulfate Antitrust litigation. We obtained settlements with all the defendants, and the value of those settlements far exceeds, on a proportional basis, those obtained by members of the class.

Each year, municipal governments and water authorities spend millions of dollars on aluminum sulfate—known as alum—a chemical used to treat water. From 2015-2018, several persons pleaded guilty to criminal charges of illegally conspiring to inflate the price of alum. Purchasers sued to recover losses from such overcharges.

Ballard Spahr lawyers filed federal court antitrust lawsuits on behalf of 19 municipalities and municipal water authorities that purchased alum. The lawsuits alleged that numerous chemical companies and individuals violated, among other things, federal and state antitrust law by engaging in an anticompetitive conspiracy that increased the price of alum. The lawsuits also alleged that the defendant alum suppliers determined, among themselves, who would win particular contracts, and unlawfully discussed the price of their bids. We expanded the case for our clients beyond the allegations of the class plaintiffs, to include claims involving a broader range alum products and a longer time period for the alleged conspiracy and damages. Although the lawsuits were filed in various courts, they were coordinated as part of a multidistrict litigation in federal court in Newark, New Jersey.

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