Hausfeld Announces Final Settlement in Decade-Long Air Cargo Price Fixing Litigation

WASHINGTON, May 19, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hausfeld, a global claimants’ law firm dedicated to handling complex litigation, announces that it has reached a settlement with Air India, the last defendant remaining in the lengthy multi-district Air Cargo Shipping Services Antitrust Litigation. Hausfeld attorneys have been pursuing damages on behalf of victims of the air cargo cartel for the last ten years, serving as Co-Lead Counsel in the case, which is pending before the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Air India is the last airline to settle the litigation, having agreed to pay $12.5 million (more than 10% of its sales to and from the United States during the class period) to direct purchasers of air cargo shipping services. In all, settlements with more than thirty defendants top $1.2 billion (see chart below).

If this and other recent settlements are approved by the court, this decade-long litigation will be concluded. Hausfeld attorneys have spent over 35,000 hours working on the case, which involved more than 18 million pages of documents, approximately 100 depositions, and numerous court appearances.

The lawsuit began in February 2006, following raids by government investigators worldwide. Criminal prosecutions by the U.S. government resulted in over $1.8 billion in fines, but no restitution for victims. Instead, compensation for the customers overcharged by the price-fixing conspiracy came from the settlements achieved in this civil litigation. As the case progressed, and the plaintiffs expended more resources and gained more knowledge of the workings of the conspiracy, the settlements paid by the airlines as expressed in terms of a percentage of their relevant sales increased. The earliest settlements represented in the range of 2% of sales and the final settlement accounted for more than 10% of sales.

According to Brent Landau, Partner at Hausfeld, “We worked extremely hard throughout this litigation and are very proud of the victories we achieved, including the more than $1.2 billion that we obtained from the airlines for class members. Our work in this case should send a message to price-fixers that they will be held accountable for the damages caused by their conduct.”

Michael Hausfeld, Chairman of the firm, added, “Brent Landau, Melinda Coolidge, Hilary Scherrer, and the rest of the Hausfeld team devoted thousands of hours to mastering the evidence, writing winning briefs, working with expert economists, and presenting their findings to the court. They relentlessly pursued damages for the victims of this worldwide price-fixing conspiracy to a successful resolution, and their excellent legal work in the pursuit of justice exemplifies what our firm is about.”

In July 2015, following years of briefing and hearings, as well as arguments presented by Hausfeld partner Brent Landau, the court granted class certification, which it found would “allow hundreds of thousands of claims to be resolved adequately, efficiently, and fairly.” The court observed that “plaintiffs have submitted a trove of direct and circumstantial evidence that strongly suggests the existence of an agreement among the defendants to fix prices,” amounting to “compelling common evidence of a global conspiracy.” The Second Circuit Court of Appeals subsequently rejected an interlocutory appeal of the certification order.

In August 2015, the court denied the remaining defendants’ motions for summary judgment and set a date for trial in 2016. Hausfeld Partners Brent Landau and Melinda Coolidge were among those presenting oral argument on the motions.

Hausfeld attorneys working on this case include Michael Hausfeld, Brent Landau, Hilary Scherrer, and Melinda Coolidge.

Total Settlements
DefendantSettlement Amount
Lufthansa 85,000,000
Air France/KLM/Martinair 87,000,000
American Airlines 5,000,000
Japan Airlines 12,000,000
SAS 13,930,000
All Nippon Airways 10,400,000
Cargolux 35,100,000
Qantas 26,500,000
Thai Airways 3,500,000
British Airways 89,512,000
Lan/ABSA 66,000,000
Malaysia Airlines 3,200,000
South African Airways 3,290,000
Saudia 14,000,000
Emirates 7,833,000
El Al Israel Airlines 15,800,000
Air Canada 7,500,000
Korean Air 115,000,000
Singapore Air 92,492,442
Cathay Pacific 65,000,000
China Airlines 90,000,000
Nippon Cargo Airlines 36,350,000
Asiana Airlines 55,000,000
EVA Airways 99,000,000
Polar Air Cargo/Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings 100,000,000
Air China 50,000,000
Air New Zealand 35,000,000
Air India 12,500,000


About Hausfeld

Hausfeld is a leading global law firm with offices in Berlin, Brussels, London, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. The firm has a broad range of complex litigation expertise, particularly in antitrust/competition, financial services, sports and entertainment, environmental, mass torts, consumer protection, and human rights matters, often with an international dimension. Hausfeld aims to achieve the best possible results for clients through its practical and commercial approach, avoiding litigation where feasible, yet litigating robustly when necessary. Hausfeld’s extensive experience with alternative and innovative fee models offers clients a diverse menu of engagement options and maximum flexibility in terms of managing their cost exposure. Hausfeld is the only claimants’ firm to be ranked by the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners as a top tier firm in private enforcement of antitrust/competition law in both the United States and the United Kingdom.

For more information about the firm, including recent trial victories and landmark settlements, please visit: www.hausfeld.com.

MEDIA CONTACT: Deborah Schwartz Media Relations Inc. dschwartz@mdiarelationsinc.com. 240 355-8838

Source: Hausfeld

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