November 2nd, 2005
Class actions involving two kinds of synthetic rubber, polychloroprene (PCP), and ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM), have settled in part. The plaintiffs allege that manufacturers of these synthetic rubbers conspired to fix prices and allocate markets from at least the late 1990s until April 2002.
PCP, also known as chloroprene rubber, is a synthetic rubber used in a variety of products, including tires, adhesives, coated fabrics, furniture, and shoes. EPDM is a synthetic rubber used in a variety of applications such as automotive weather stripping.
Both settlements follow settlements in similar class actions in the US. The US class actions are structured such that some Canadians might be able to participate in those settlements. As well, the PCP class action followed guilty pleas and fines in the US by DuPont Dow Elastomers LLC (US$84 million) and Syndial SpA (US$9 million) in the spring, 2005. (There do not appear to be convictions in relation to EPDM.)
DuPont (and affiliates) agreed to pay $566,274 to settle the PCP action and $187,095 to settle the EPDM action. Crompton Corporation (and affiliates) agreed to pay $4.5 million to settle the EPDM action.
The approval hearing for the PCP settlement is set for November 16, 2005.
In June and September, courts in Ontario , BC and Quebec approved settlements involving all but one of the defendants in the polyester staple class action. The total settlement amount is close to $1 million.
Polyester Staple is a petroleum-based fiber that is used to make textiles, fabrics, clothing, home furnishings and many other products. The class action was started in March 2003 after developments in the US, including a guilty plea and US$28 million fine paid by Luxembourg manufacturer Arteva Specialties S.a.r.l., indictments against other manufacturers, and the filing of several class actions. As well, in August 2003, Arteva pleaded guilty in Canada and paid $1.5 million.