DuPont to pay $3.5M settlement in titanium dioxide class action

By Takesha Thomas | Nov 9, 2018

SAN JOSE — A court has approved a $3.5-million settlement in a class-action lawsuit targeting DuPont over a titanium dioxide price-fixing claim.

On Oct. 22, U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman also ordered the payment of attorneys' fees, reimbursement of expenses and services awards in the case against E.I. DuPont De Nemours and Company in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division.

According to to initial suit, DuPont, Huntsman International, Kronos Worldwide and Cristal USA are alleged to have "conspired to and did fix the price of titanium dioxide sold in the United States in violation of federal and state laws."

Titanium dioxide is used as a brightener for architectural paint, paper and plastic. The product is also "used in synthetic fiber production and to make inks, pharmaceutical coatings, toothpaste, sunscreen, cosmetics, food, rubber, ceramic, and other products,” the court order said.

The companies are described as the "dominant suppliers of titanium dioxide in the United States."

The plaintiffs allege the "price-fixing" resulted in them paying a higher price for architectural paint. They sued for violation of state antitrust statutes, violation of state consumer protection statutes, unjust enrichment and injunctive and equitable relief under the Sherman Act.

In June 2017, both parties entered a settlement agreement. However, in a June 2018 discovery, DuPont failed to serve notice of the settlement to state and federal officials as required by the Class Action Fairness Act, the court order said.

Under an amended agreement of July 2018, $3.5 million in “Damages Settlement Class” and an “Injunctive Relief Settlement" were added, according to the filing.

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