MOL Group Hit By U.S. Price-Fixing Suit

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Friday June 21, 2013

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. (MOL) said Wednesday its U.S. subsidiary Mitsui O.S.K. Bulk Shipping (USA) Inc. (MOBUSA) is being targeted by a class-action lawsuit accusing it of conspiring to fix prices for the ocean transport of cars.

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California with David Schroeder as the lead plaintiff, seeks unspecified compensation for alleged damages and an injunction against the defendants.

MOL said that on June 18 MOBUSA received a copy of the complaint, which was filed on June 5, and also learned that other similar lawsuits have been filed against MOL group in the U.S.

"The effect of these lawsuits on MOL's business performance is uncertain at this stage due to the difficulty of calculating the financial impact," the company said.

A number of automotive shippers, including Nissan Motor Car Carrier Co. Ltd., have been hit by a class action suit led by Schroeder, according to legal news outlet Law360.

"Defendants and their co-conspirators colluded and conspired to suppress and eliminate competition in the vehicle carrier services market by agreeing to fix, stabilize and maintain the prices of vehicle carrier services in California," the complaint said.

"The combination and conspiracy engaged in by the defendants and their co-conspirators resulted in unreasonable restraint of interstate and foreign trade and commerce in violation of the Sherman Act and California Unfair Competition statutes."