News
September 13, 2006
On August 30, 2006, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey approved the settlement of several MDL consolidated class actions filed against Firm client Schunk GmbH and several of its European and United States subsidiaries.

Schunk, a German company and an important manufacturer of electrical carbon brushes and other specialty carbon and graphite products, was alleged to have conspired with several of its competitors to fix prices for electrical carbon products sold in the United States, in violation of section 1 of the Sherman Act.  Schunk’s defense of these allegations was complicated by the fact that one of its co-defendants pled guilty to criminal price-fixing in the United States as a result of an investigation by the Department of Justice, and several executives of that co-defendant also pled guilty and were serving jail terms during the litigation for related offenses.  Despite these obstacles, Schunk presented a vigorous defense on the merits and to class certification in the MDL class actions.

In the fall of 2004, prior to a ruling on Plaintiffs’ motion to certify a class, Schunk reached a settlement with the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee to avoid the further expense and burden of a class action lawsuit.  After the Court granted preliminary approval of the settlement, a group of large customers, all represented by the same counsel, elected to exclude themselves from the class and a determination was made that sales to those Opt-Outs exceeded the threshold necessary for Schunk to exercise an option in its settlement agreement to terminate the settlement.  On September 23, 2005, those Opt-Outs filed a separate suit against Schunk and other defendants in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Under the direction of Judge Jerome B. Simandle of the District of New Jersey, Schunk engaged in discussions with both the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee and the Opt-Out Plaintiffs concerning the potential restructuring of a settlement.  On February 28, 2006, the Company reached a settlement with Opt-Out Plaintiffs, and the Opt-Out Plaintiffs agreed to dismiss their separate action against Schunk and rejoin Schunk’s class settlement, to which the Court granted final approval on August 30, 2006. 

Schunk’s settlement team consisted of Jenner & Block Partners Matthew M. Neumeier and Margaret J. Simpson, and Associate Brian D. Hansen.  Partner John H. Mathias, Jr., Associates Darren J. Schmidt, Marek Badyna, Angela M. Barry, Robert J. Blazejowski, Nada Djordjevic, and Anders C. Wick, and paralegal Thomas R. Scholtus have also been part of Schunk’s overall defense team.

Related Document(s):
 
  
On August 30, 2006, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey approved the settlement of several MDL consolidated class actions filed against Firm client Schunk GmbH and several of its European and United States subsidiaries.

Schunk, a German company and an important manufacturer of electrical carbon brushes and other specialty carbon and graphite products, was alleged to have conspired with several of its competitors to fix prices for electrical carbon products sold in the United States, in violation of section 1 of the Sherman Act.  Schunk’s defense of these allegations was complicated by the fact that one of its co-defendants pled guilty to criminal price-fixing in the United States as a result of an investigation by the Department of Justice, and several executives of that co-defendant also pled guilty and were serving jail terms during the litigation for related offenses.  Despite these obstacles, Schunk presented a vigorous defense on the merits and to class certification in the MDL class actions.

In the fall of 2004, prior to a ruling on Plaintiffs’ motion to certify a class, Schunk reached a settlement with the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee to avoid the further expense and burden of a class action lawsuit.  After the Court granted preliminary approval of the settlement, a group of large customers, all represented by the same counsel, elected to exclude themselves from the class and a determination was made that sales to those Opt-Outs exceeded the threshold necessary for Schunk to exercise an option in its settlement agreement to terminate the settlement.  On September 23, 2005, those Opt-Outs filed a separate suit against Schunk and other defendants in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Under the direction of Judge Jerome B. Simandle of the District of New Jersey, Schunk engaged in discussions with both the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee and the Opt-Out Plaintiffs concerning the potential restructuring of a settlement.  On February 28, 2006, the Company reached a settlement with Opt-Out Plaintiffs, and the Opt-Out Plaintiffs agreed to dismiss their separate action against Schunk and rejoin Schunk’s class settlement, to which the Court granted final approval on August 30, 2006. 

Schunk’s settlement team consisted of Jenner & Block Partners Matthew M. Neumeier and Margaret J. Simpson, and Associate Brian D. Hansen.  Partner John H. Mathias, Jr., Associates Darren J. Schmidt, Marek Badyna, Angela M. Barry, Robert J. Blazejowski, Nada Djordjevic, and Anders C. Wick, and paralegal Thomas R. Scholtus have also been part of Schunk’s overall defense team.


Practice Groups:
Class Action
Litigation Department


Related Document(s):