Puerto Rico agrees settlement in Jones Act price fixing suits

puerto-rico-flagAccording to an SEC filing, Horizon Lines, it and two other Jones Act carriers (Sea Star Line LLC and Crowley Liner Services, Inc.) have reached a $5.3 million settlement agreement with the Commonwealth of Puerto Ricop and other plaintiffs in lawsuits relating to price fixing in the Puerto Rico trade.

You can access the text of the settlement agreement HERE.

Following is what the SEC filing says:

On March 31, 2011, Horizon Lines, Inc. (the “Company”) entered into a Settlement Agreement (the “Settlement Agreement”) with the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the named plaintiffs, individually and representing a class of indirect purchasers to resolve claims relating to the Puerto Rico trade. Sea Star Line, LLC (“Sea Star”) and Crowley Liner Services, Inc (“Crowley”) are also parties to the Settlement Agreement. The Settlement Agreement was entered into by the parties pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding among the same parties. The Company reported that Memorandum of Understanding on a Form 8-K filed on February 24, 2011. The Settlement Agreement is subject to court approval. There can be no assurance that the Settlement Agreement will be approved.

Under the Settlement Agreement, the plaintiffs and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico agree to settle claims alleged in three lawsuits filed against each of the Company, Sea Star and Crowley. Two lawsuits are putative class-action lawsuits on behalf of indirect purchasers, one of which is pending in the Court of First Instance for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the other is pending in the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. The third was filed by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in the Court of First Instance in its own right and on behalf of indirect purchasers. Pursuant to the Settlement Agreement, each of the defendants will pay a one-third share of the total settlement amount of $5,300,000.

Accordingly, the Company has agreed to pay $1,766,667 as its share of the settlement amount. If the Settlement Agreement is finally approved, the settling defendants will receive a full release from the named plaintiffs, from the members of the settlement class, and from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in its own right and as parens patriae.

April 7, 2011

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