Municipal governments and water authorities spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year on aluminum sulfate—known as alum—a chemical used to treat water. There have been several guilty pleas to criminal charges of illegally conspiring to inflate the price of alum and many purchasers have sued to recover losses from such overcharges. 

Ballard Spahr antitrust lawyers are on the front lines of that battle. The team has filed federal court antitrust lawsuits on behalf of 15 municipalities and municipal water authorities. The lawsuits allege that the defendant alum suppliers violated antitrust laws by agreeing to eliminate competition. They allegedly decided amongst themselves who would win particular contracts and intentionally submitted losing bids. The suit alleges that the defendants unlawfully discussed the price and terms of their bids.

Antitrust law allows a successful plaintiff to recover three times its damages. Although the lawsuits have been filed in numerous states, the cases are being transferred for pre-trial proceedings to the federal court in Newark, New Jersey, where they are being coordinated in multidistrict litigation. Trials would take place in the U.S. District Courts where they were filed.

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