Multi-Billion Dollar Air Cargo Price Fixing Litigation Headed to Trial in Brooklyn - Global Trade Magazine
  September 16th, 2015 | Written by

Multi-Billion Dollar Air Cargo Price Fixing Litigation Headed to Trial in Brooklyn

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  • A class action case against cargo airlines alleges a multi-year conspiracy to fix prices.
  • Plaintiffs’ attorneys have reached settlements of more than $1 billion with twenty-seven of the airlines.
  • The remaining in the class-action air cargo price fixing-case are Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, and Polar Air.

A trial has been set for January 25, 2016 in a class action seeking billions of dollars in compensation from airlines alleged to have participated in a worldwide price-fixing conspiracy affecting shipments of air cargo.

Judge John Gleeson heard oral arguments last week from the few defendants that remain in the long-running case—Air China and Air China Cargo, Air India, Air New Zealand, and Polar Air Cargo (along with its parent, Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings—each of which contended that the court should end the case now, rather than allow a trial to proceed.

Following arguments on the summary judgment motions, including from Hausfeld partners Brent W. Landau and Melinda R. Coolidge, the court ruled for the plaintiffs and set the trial date.

Hausfeld, a global claimants’ law firm dedicated to handling complex litigation, serves as co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the case, In re Air Cargo Shipping Services Antitrust Litigation, pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, in Brooklyn.

Filed in 2006 on behalf of a class of direct purchasers of air cargo shipping services, the case alleges a multi-year conspiracy perpetrated by more than thirty airlines around the world. After reaching settlements of more than $1 billion with twenty-seven of these airlines, including Singapore Airlines, China Air, Asiana, Cathay Pacific, EVA Airways and Korean Air, the plaintiffs recently won the right to proceed as a certified class against the remaining defendants.

“The Court’s ruling is a major milestone for the victims of this massive price-fixing conspiracy, and for private enforcement of the antitrust laws,” said Landau. “We look forward to bringing this case before a jury and seeking further compensation for the class.”

Twenty-three defendants have pleaded guilty to their role in the conspiracy under a U.S. Department of Justice probe. Over 20 airlines have been identified as conspiracy participants in the European Union, and other airlines have been prosecuted in other areas of the world, including Canada, Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.