Conspiracy involving marine fenders, buoys and pilings provokes action by public and private interests in Texas and Louisiana. Baron & Budd, P.C. attorneys, working with attorneys from Los Angeles-based Glancy Bingow & Goldberg LLC, New York securities law firm Labaton Sucharow LLP, Mobile-based Vickers, Riis, Murray and Curran, L.L.C. and Galveston attorney A. Craig Eiland, have filed suit in federal district court in Los Angeles over a web of conspiracies to fix prices and rig bids on several marine products. The Board of Trustees of the Galveston Wharves, the Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans and OSG Lightering LLC, who all purchased marine products that were the subject of the conspiracies, have sued on behalf all those affected by the schemes.
The interrelated conspiracies, which involved many of the same industry players, concerned three types of marine products: foam-filled fenders and buoys, marine pilings, and marine fenders. Because of the defendants' unlawful actions, consumers of these products, including many public entities, were charged inflated prices.
"The City of New Orleans has had so many challenges and obstacles," said Burton LeBlanc, Baron & Budd shareholder and Louisiana native. "I'm proud to represent the port's commissioners in standing up to the companies that have conspired to cheat New Orleans and so many other U.S. cities."
Some co-conspirators have already pleaded guilty in an antitrust suit brought against them by the Department of Justice. A pending whistleblower lawsuit has attracted the attention and participation of the Department of Justice, as well as States of California and Florida. The qui tam, or whistleblower, lawsuit was filed in 2005 but only became public in February 2010 after it was partially unsealed by Judge George H. Wu, a federal district judge in California.