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Malkinson & Halpern, P.C. Announces $90 Million Potash Settlements

Chicago, IL (June 12, 2013) Malkinson & Halpern, P.C., a Chicago law firm, announced that a federal court in Chicago has approved $90 million in combined settlements of a class action concerning alleged price-fixing in the Potash industry. Potash is used worldwide as a key ingredient in fertilizer and in certain industrial applications. The defendants control over 70% of the world’s potash supply and were alleged to have conspired to fix, raise and stabilize potash prices for several years, beginning in 2003. During the alleged conspiracy, U.S. potash prices allegedly rose by over 600%.

Malkinson & Halpern, P.C., participating counsel in the case, represent one of five named plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Kraft Chemical Company of Melrose Park, Illinois. The court also awarded Kraft and the other plaintiffs individual Incentive Awards for undertaking to pursue the class claims on behalf of all similarly situated direct purchasers of Potash.

On June 6, 2013, the court approved a $10 million settlement in the case reached with Russian defendants, including JSC Uralkali and JSC Silvinit. Today, the court held a further fairness hearing and concluded the litigation by giving final approval to an $80 million settlement reached with the major North American potash suppliers, including Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, Mosaic Company, Agrium Inc., and PSC Sales (USA), Inc.

Today’s ruling concludes a tumultuous court battle in which the federal appeals court initially overturned the trial judge and dismissed the case. On urging by attorneys for the potash purchasers, that decision was reconsidered and, in a rare ruling, unanimously overturned by the full appellate court, reinstating the litigation and leading to today’s settlement. The appeals court ultimately ruled that conspiratorial conduct outside of the United States can be brought to justice in our courts when it impacts United States prices and import commerce.

John Malkinson explains that, “The law set forth in the Potash case reconfirms the worldwide shield protecting U.S. consumers from conspiratorial conduct by international cartels. This is a solid victory for those impacted by artificially elevated prices.”  Direct purchasers of potash have until August 1, 2013 to submit claims under the settlements. Claim forms can be found at: http://www.potashantitrust-classaction.com/content.aspx?c=5307&sh=1

Malkinson & Halpern, P.C., has successfully represented small businesses in over 15 price fixing actions and generally concentrates its practice in complex litigation that also includes False Claims Act, wrongful death, sexual harassment and other employment law matters.

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