International Paper moves to settle Kleen lawsuit
By P&PC Staff
By P&PC Staff
Jul. 4, 2017 – International Paper announced that it has entered into an agreement to settle the Kleen Products antitrust class action lawsuit, which was filed in 2010 against the company and seven other containerboard producers. The lawsuit is pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
If approved by the court, the agreement would resolve disputed claims involving the price of containerboard products purchased directly from International Paper, Temple-Inland Inc. and Weyerhaeuser Company by the class members at any time prior to the date of court approval.
Under the terms of the agreement, International Paper will pay $354 million into a settlement fund in return for dismissal and release of all claims. The company will record a reserve for the expected settlement, which will result in a pre-tax charge of US$354 million (US$219 million, net of tax) in the second quarter of 2017.
“We continue to maintain that the allegations are baseless and without merit,” said Mark Sutton, chairman and CEO. “However, we have agreed to settle this lawsuit in order to avoid substantial on-going legal expenses and the inherent risks of a multi-billion-dollar class-action lawsuit.”
International Paper explains this settlement avoids the uncertainty of continued involvement with this litigation and a possible adverse jury verdict, where any award in this class-action case would be tripled and potentially paid by International Paper alone.
Headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., International Paper employs approximately 55,000 people located in more than 24 countries. Net sales for 2016 were US$21 billion.