Calif. man files gypsum board antitrust complaint, brings total class actions to three

By Jon Campisi | Feb 5, 2013

Gypsum board class action suits keep pouring in federal court in Philadelphia.

One day after the second such antitrust complaint was filed, a third lawsuit alleging price fixing among drywall manufacturers was filed in District Court, this one on behalf of a California man.

Like the two suits before it, the latest complaint accuses manufacturers of gypsum board, which is also known as drywall and sheetrock, of conspiring to fix, maintain, stabilize and raise the prices of gypsum board, which is used primarily for walls and ceilings in residential and commercial construction projects.

The lawsuit claims that as early as September 2011, the defendants agreed among themselves to fix the prices of the commodity through coordinated price increases becoming effective on about Jan. 1 of last year.

The defendants also allegedly informed consumers that the companies would no longer participate in a pricing practice known as “job quotes,” whereby customers were able to lock in a particular price for the product for the duration of a construction project.

“Their simultaneous, dramatic and sudden change from the prior, decades-long industry practice commenced a period of rising prices in the Gypsum Board industry,” reads the latest lawsuit, which was filed Feb. 1 by attorneys with the Philadelphia firm Trujillo Rodriguez & Richards, who are representing the other plaintiffs who previously filed suit on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated.

The latest suit was jointly filed by lawyers with the Washington, D.C. firm Finkelstein Thompson.

Like the other complaints, the latest lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of named plaintiff Afam Agbodike, accuses the defendants of violating the Sherman Act, which is designed to prevent anti-competitiveness.

The defendants are also accused of violating state antitrust and consumer protection laws.

The Agbodike suit contains additional counts of unjust enrichment and disgorgement of profits, which it says are filed on behalf of the proposed national class.

The plaintiff seeks restitution, unspecified damages, pre-and-post-judgment interest, litigation costs and attorney’s fees.

The defendants named in the suit are CertainTeed Corp., USG Corp., United States Gypsum Co., New NGC Inc., LaFarge North America Inc., Georgia-Pacific LLC, American Gypsum Co. LLC, Temple-Inland Inc., and Pabco Building Products LLC.


The case number is 2:13-cv-00607-MMB.

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