DIPF Indirect Purchaser Antitrust Litigation
www.DIPFIndirectSettlement.com

Frequently Asked Questions

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Basic Information

1. What Is The Lawsuit About?

The lawsuit alleges that (i) defendants entered into price-fixing agreements in the market for Ductile Iron Pipe Fittings (“DIPF”) in the United States in violation of the antitrust laws, (ii) McWane monopolized the 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 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.

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2. Who Are The Defendants

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

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3. 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 Waterline Industries Corporation; Yates Construction Co., Inc.; City of Hallandale Beach, Florida; Wayne County, Michigan; South Huntington, New York Water District; Water District No. 1 of Johnson County, Kansas; and Village of Woodridge, New York. The class representatives and the individuals or entities with similar claims are referred to as class members. Together they comprise a class. One court resolves the settlement-related issues for all class members, except for those who exclude themselves from one or both of the Settlements. U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson is in charge of this class action.

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4. Why Are There Proposed Settlements With SIGMA And Star?

Both SIGMA and Star have denied all liability and wrongdoing in this case and have asserted various defenses to the plaintiffs’ claims. The Court did not decide in favor of the plaintiffs or SIGMA and Star. Instead, both sides agreed to the SIGMA and Star Settlements. 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 SIGMA and Star Settlements are the best result for all class members. The case is continuing against McWane.

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Who Is Affected by the SIGMA and Star Settlements

5. How Do I Know If I Am A Member Of The SIGMA And Star Settlements?

Judge Thompson has decided that for purposes of the SIGMA Settlement, there are two classes:

  1. All persons or entities that reside or have a place of business in the States of Arizona, Arkansas, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin who or that purchased DIPF indirectly from any defendant at any time from January 11, 2008, through June 30, 2011. “Indirectly” means that you must have purchased the DIPF products from someone other than the defendant manufacturers. Purchases made directly from a defendant are not included in this lawsuit; and
  2. All persons or entities that reside or have a place of business in the States of Arizona, Arkansas, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin who or that purchased Domestic DIPF indirectly from McWane or SIGMA at any time from September 17, 2009, through December 31, 2013. “Indirectly” means that you must have purchased the DIPF products from someone other than the defendant manufacturers. Purchases made directly from a defendant are not included in this lawsuit.

For purposes of the Star Settlement only, there is one class:

All persons or entities that reside or have a place of business in the States of Arizona, Arkansas, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin who or that purchased DIPF indirectly from any defendant at any time from January 11, 2008, through June 30, 2011. “Indirectly” means that you must have purchased the DIPF products from someone other than the defendant manufacturers. Purchases made directly from a defendant are not included in this lawsuit.

Excluded from the SIGMA and Star 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.

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6. Are government agencies included in the Settlements?

Local or state government agencies and municipalities are eligible to participate as Class Members in the Settlements. Under the terms of the Settlements, federal government agencies and instrumentalities are excluded from participating as Class Members.

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7. I’m 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. Please click here for more information.

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The Benefits of the SIGMA and Star Settlements

8. What Do The SIGMA And Star Settlements Provide?

Under the SIGMA Settlement, SIGMA has agreed to pay $2,005,000 in cash (“the SIGMA Settlement Fund”). SIGMA has paid $200,000.00 into an escrow account to be used for the cost of providing Notice to the Class. The remainder of the Settlement Amount is to be paid into an escrow account in three equal installments of $601,666.66 each on the following schedule: (i) on or before July 1, 2015 (reduced by the $200,000 separately paid for notice and notice administration costs); (ii) on or before July 1, 2016; and (iii) on or before May 31, 2017. The SIGMA amount is subject to possible reduction under paragraph 51 of the Settlement Agreement.

Under the Star Settlement, Star has agreed to pay $641,250 in cash (“the Star Settlement Fund”). Star has agreed to pay the Settlement Amount into an escrow account in three equal installments on the following schedule: (i) on or before September 30, 2015 (reduced by the $150,000 separately paid for notice and notice administration costs); (ii) on or before July 30, 2016; and (iii) on or before May 31, 2017.

SIGMA and Star will also provide limited discovery and cooperation in plaintiffs’ continuing lawsuit against McWane. This cooperation may include the explanation of previously produced transactional data and authentication of documents and certification as to business records. Details about the cooperation are set forth in the settlement agreements, which have been filed with the Court and may be viewed here.

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9. How Do I Get A Payment?

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

The Claim Form covers both the SIGMA and Star Settlement as well as any settlement that may be entered into in the future, and you need send only one Claim Form to participate in both the current and any future Settlements. You must fill out the 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, 2016 to the address below.

DIPF Indirect Purchaser Antitrust Litigation
c/o GCG
P.O. Box 10251
Dublin, OH 43017-5751

If the Court approves the Settlements (see “The Court’s Fairness Hearing” below), payments from the SIGMA Settlement Fund and the Star 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 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.

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10. How Much Will My Payment Be?

Class Counsel has proposed a Plan of Allocation describing the division of the SIGMA and Star Settlement Funds among class members.

Under the Plan of Allocation, part of the SIGMA Settlement Fund and the Star Settlement Fund each will be used to pay expenses approved by the Court. Class Counsel with the permission of the Court will deduct attorney’s fees, expenses, and incentive awards to the class representatives from the SIGMA Settlement Fund and the Star Settlement Fund in proportion to each individual settlement’s contribution to the $2,646,250 that the two Settlement Funds represent. The remaining amounts (the “Net SIGMA Settlement Fund” and the “Net Star Settlement Fund,” respectively) will be distributed to class members that submit valid and timely claims.

The Net SIGMA Settlement Fund will be distributed on a pro rata basis among all members of the SIGMA Classes who submit valid and timely claim forms for purchases of DIPF from January 11, 2008 through June 30, 2011 that was originally sold by SIGMA, McWane, or Star and for purchases of Domestic DIPF from September 17, 2009 through December 31, 2013 that was originally sold by SIGMA or McWane. In other words, each SIGMA Settlement class member shall be paid a percentage of the Net SIGMA Settlement Fund that each class member’s recognized claim bears to the total of all recognized claims submitted by all SIGMA Settlement class members who file claims.

The Net Star Settlement Fund will be distributed on a pro rata basis among all members of the Star Class who submit valid and timely claim forms for purchases of DIPF from January 11, 2008 through June 30, 2011 that was originally sold by SIGMA, McWane, or Star. In other words, each Star Settlement class member shall be paid a percentage of the Net Star Settlement Fund that each class member’s recognized claim bears to the total of all recognized claims submitted by all Star Settlement class members who file claims.

As further described below, if a class member excludes itself from either or both of the SIGMA or Star Settlement Classes, 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 May 19, 2016 as described in Question 17 below.

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11. When Will I Receive A Payment?

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

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12. What Am I Giving Up To Get A Payment Or Stay In The Settlements?

Unless you exclude yourself from either or both of the SIGMA or Star Settlements, you are staying in the Settlements, and that means that you cannot sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against SIGMA or Star 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 Agreements provide that there will be a release of claims against SIGMA and Star and the Releasees (as defined in ¶30 of the SIGMA Settlement Agreement and ¶25 of the Star Settlement Agreement). The SIGMA and Star Settlement Agreements, however, do not release any Claims relating to direct 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 Agreements with SIGMA and Star each provide the specific and full terms of the releases as to SIGMA and Star, but broadly the Agreements completely release, acquit, and forever discharge SIGMA and Star and the Releasees from any and all other claims arising at any time prior to the execution date of the respective Settlement Agreements under antitrust, unfair competition, or similar laws relating to the supply, pricing, marketing, distribution, and sale of DIPF.

The SIGMA and Star Settlement Agreements, which are available at here, more fully describe the legal claims that you give up if you stay in the class.

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Excluding Yourself from the SIGMA or Star Settlements

13. How Do I Get Out Of The SIGMA Or Star Settlement?

To exclude yourself from the SIGMA or Star Settlements (or both), 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 SIGMA Settlement or the Star Settlement, or from both of the Settlements.
  • The case name: In re Ductile Iron Pipe Fittings (“DIPF”) Indirect Purchaser Antitrust Litigation, Civ. No. 12-169 (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 May 3, 2016 and sent to:

DIPF Indirect Purchaser Antitrust Litigation
c/o GCG
P.O. Box 10251
Dublin, OH 43017-5751
Phone: 1-888-298-6316
www.DIPFIndirectSettlement.com

If you ask to be excluded from the SIGMA or Star Settlements, you will not get any payment from the Net Settlement Fund for the Settlement or Settlements from which you elect to be excluded and you cannot object to the Settlement from which you excluded yourself.

Unless you exclude yourself, if the SIGMA and Star Settlements are approved by the Court, you give up any right to sue SIGMA and Star for the claims that the SIGMA and Star Settlements resolve. If you have a pending lawsuit against SIGMA and Star 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 SIGMA or Star.)

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14. Can I Remain Part Of The Settlement Class For One Of The Proposed Settlements And Exclude Myself From The Other?

Yes. Because there are two separate proposed settlements (the SIGMA Settlement and the Star Settlement), you will need to decide, for each, whether to exclude yourself from the Settlement, or whether to remain in the Settlement for either or both of them.

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15. If I Exclude Myself, Can I Receive Money From The SIGMA and Star Settlements?

No. If you decide to exclude yourself from both the SIGMA and Star Settlements, you will not be able to receive money from either proposed Settlement. If you exclude yourself from one, but not both, of the proposed Settlements, you will be eligible to receive payment only from the proposed Settlement for which you have not excluded yourself.

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The Lawyers Representing You

16. Do I Have A Lawyer In This Case?

Yes. The Court has appointed Joseph C. Kohn of Kohn Swift & Graf, P.C.; Robert S. Kitchenoff of Weinstein Kitchenoff & Asher, LLC; and David Kovel of Kirby McInerney, LLP (“Class Counsel”) to represent the class on an interim basis, and for purposes of the SIGMA and Star Settlements. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer and have that lawyer appear in court for you concerning the SIGMA and Star Settlements, you may hire one at your own expense.

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17. How Will The Lawyers Be Paid?

You are not personally responsible for payment of attorneys’ fees or expenses for Class Counsel. Class Counsel will ask the Court to approve from both the SIGMA Settlement Fund and the Star Settlement Fund an award for costs and expenses incurred and to be incurred in the prosecution of the lawsuit.

At this time, Class Counsel will ask the Court to approve from the SIGMA Settlement Fund and the Star Settlement Fund an award of $459,250 (twenty percent (20%) of the amount of the SIGMA and Star Settlements that are not currently designated for notice costs) for costs and expenses incurred and to be incurred in the prosecution of the lawsuit.

Class Counsel are not seeking payment of attorneys’ fees at this time. At a later date Class Counsel will ask the Court for an award of attorneys’ fees, reimbursement of any additional litigation expenses, as well as payment of incentive awards to the class representatives for their services representing the class. The amount requested for attorneys’ fees will not exceed one-third of any settlement funds. When Class Counsel seek payment of attorneys’ fees, reimbursement of litigation expenses, and incentive awards from the settlement fund, notice will be provided and you will be given an opportunity to object and be heard by the Court.

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Objecting to the SIGMA or Star Settlements, the Plan of Allocation or the Request for Expenses

18. How Do I Tell The Court That I Do Not Like The SIGMA or Star Settlements Or The Plan Of Allocation Or The Request For Expenses?

You can object to either or both of the SIGMA and Star Settlements if you are a member of the appropriate class or classes and have not opted out of the class for the Settlement to which you object. You can object if you do not like any part of either or both of the SIGMA and Star Settlements, or if you disagree with the Plan of Allocation or the Request for Expenses. You can give reasons for your objections. The Court will consider your views, but the Settlements 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 either or both of the SIGMA or Star Settlements, or the Plan of Allocation or the Request for Expenses, in In re Ductile Iron Pipe Fittings (“DIPF”) Indirect Purchaser Antitrust Litigation, Civ. No. 12-169 (D.N.J.).
  • Your name, address, telephone number, and your signature.
  • A statement of your objection and the reason(s) why you object.
  • Proof of your membership in the class, such as invoices showing that you satisfy the definition in FAQ 5.

You must mail the objection to the Court at the following address, postmarked by May 19, 2016:

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 postmarked by May 19, 2016:

Counsel for the Indirect Purchaser Plaintiffs and the Settlement Classes

Joseph C. Kohn
KOHN SWIFT & GRAF, P.C.
One South Broad Street
Suite 2100
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Robert S. Kitchenoff
WEINSTEIN KITCHENOFF & ASHER LLC
100 S. Broad Street
Suite 705
Philadelphia, PA 19110
David Kovel
KIRBY MCINERNEY LLP
825 Third Avenue
16th Floor
New York, NY 10022

SIGMA Corporation and SIGMA Piping Products Corporation
Matthew A. White
Leslie E. John
BALLARD SPAHR LLP
1735 Market Street, 51st Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Counsel for Star Pipe Products, Ltd.
Gregory S.C. Huffman
Nicole L. Williams
THOMPSON & KNIGHT LLP
1722 Routh Street, Ste. 1500
Dallas, TX 75201

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19. What Is The Difference Between Objecting and Opting Out?

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

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The Court's Fairness Hearing

20. When And Where Will The Court Decide Whether To Approve The SIGMA And Star Settlements?

The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing at 10 a.m. on June 8, 2016, 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 SIGMA and Star Settlements are fair, reasonable, and adequate and whether to approve the Plan of Allocation and the Request for Expenses. 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 this time. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the SIGMA and Star Settlements, the Plan of Allocation, and the Request for Expenses. There is no set time frame within which the Court must make its decision.

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21. 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 FAQ 17, the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it is not required.

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22. 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”) Indirect Purchaser Antitrust Litigation, Civ. No. 12-169 (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 5.

Your Notice of Intention to Appear must be mailed to the Court at the following address postmarked by May 19, 2016:

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, no later than May 19, 2016.

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If You Do Nothing

23. What Happens If I Do Nothing At All?

If you do nothing, you will remain in the classes for both the SIGMA and Star Settlements. If you remain in the classes, to qualify for a payment you must send in a Claim Form, which can be found here. See FAQ 8 above for further information. If you do not timely complete and return a Claim Form you will not receive any payment in the Settlements.

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Getting More Information

24. Are There More Details About The SIGMA or Star Settlements Or The Plan Of Allocation?

The Notice summarizes the SIGMA and Star Settlements. More details are in the SIGMA and Star Settlement Agreements. You can get copies of the Settlement Agreements here.

Class counsel will file a motion for final approval of the SIGMA and Star Settlements, the Plan of Allocation and the Request for Expenses, which will contain additional information. These papers are currently due to be filed by May 9, 2016 and will be available on this website.

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25. How Do I Get More Information?

If you have questions or want more information, you may contact the Claims Administrator toll-free at 1-855-907-3111, or write to either of the following counsel for Plaintiffs:

Joseph C. Kohn
KOHN SWIFT & GRAF, P.C.
One South Broad Street
Suite 2100
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Robert S. Kitchenoff
WEINSTEIN KITCHENOFF & ASHER LLC
100 S. Broad Street
Suite 705
Philadelphia, PA 19110
David Kovel
KIRBY MCINERNEY LLP
825 Third Avenue
16th Floor
New York, NY 10022

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