In Re: Domestic Drywall Antitrust Litigation

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is this lawsuit about?
  2. Why is this a class action lawsuit?
  3. What is the Joint Settlement?
  4. How do I know if I am part of the Joint Settlement?
  5. Do I have a lawyer in this case?
  6. Has the Court approved the Joint Settlement?
  7. What are my options?
  8. What happens if I do nothing?
  9. What do I have to do to submit a claim?
  10. What should I do if you received more than one Claim Form?
  11. What kinds of purchases, and from what companies, are eligible purchases for submitting a claim?
  12. What will I give up to stay in the Joint Settlement Class?
  13. I excluded myself from some but not all of the Settlements, can I still file a claim?
  14. How will the settlement funds be distributed?
  15. When will I receive money from the settlements?
  16. How do I get more information?
  1. What is this lawsuit about?

    This lawsuit was filed by Sierra Drywall Systems, Inc., Janicki Drywall, Inc., New Deal Lumber & Millwork Co., and Grubb Lumber Co., Inc. (collectively, “Plaintiffs” or “Class Representatives”) individually and as representatives of all persons in the United States who purchased Wallboard directly from CertainTeed Gypsum, Inc., USG Corporation, United States Gypsum Company, New NGC, Inc., Lafarge North America, Inc., Eagle Materials, Inc., American Gypsum Company LLC, PABCO Building Products, LLC, Georgia-Pacific LLC, and TIN, Inc. (collectively, “Manufacturers”) or L&W.  “Wallboard” refers to paper-backed gypsum wallboard, also known as drywall or plasterboard.  The lawsuit asserts that the Manufacturers conspired, in violation of the federal antitrust laws, to raise, fix, maintain or stabilize the price of Wallboard and, to help further this price-fixing conspiracy, to abolish the industry’s long-standing practice of limiting price increases for the duration of a construction project through the use of “job quotes.”  The lawsuit alleges that as a result of the Manufacturers’ alleged conduct, the prices paid for Wallboard were higher than they otherwise would have been.  Plaintiffs seek to recover three times the actual damages that they allege the Manufacturers’ conduct caused, as well as attorneys’ fees, expenses and costs.  Defendants deny Plaintiffs’ allegations, but the Court has found that Plaintiffs have submitted sufficient evidence to allow their claims regarding the alleged conspiracy to go to trial against certain Defendants.

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  2. Why is this a class action lawsuit?

    In a class action, the plaintiff (or the class representative) sues on behalf of others who have similar claims. All the people who have similar claims are the “class” or “class members.” In a class action, one court resolves the issues in the lawsuit for all class members, except for those who choose to be excluded from (or “opt out” of) the class. In this case, Sierra Drywall Systems, Inc., Janicki Drywall, Inc., New Deal Lumber & Millwork Co., and Grubb Lumber Co., Inc. are the plaintiffs that brought the case, and are also the Joint Settlement Class Representatives (they are also the Settlement Class Representatives for the Lafarge, TIN and USG Settlements).

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  3. What is the Joint Settlement?

    The settlement provides that American Gypsum, Eagle Materials, NGC and PABCO will pay $125 million.   Co-Lead Counsel believes that the Joint Settlement is fair and in the best interests of the Joint Settlement Class Members. For additional information relating to the Joint Settlement, please see the American Gypsum, Eagle Materials, NGC and PABCO Preliminary Approval Order and American Gypsum, Eagle Materials, NGC and PABCO Settlement Agreement.

     

    There were previous settlements with Lafarge North America, Inc., TIN, Inc., USG Corporation, United States Gypsum Company and USG Corporation’s Subsidiary L&W Supply Corporation.  For additional information relating to these settlements, please see FAQ 15.

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  4. How do I know if I am part of the Joint Settlement?

    The Joint Settlement Class includes all persons or entities that purchased Wallboard in the United States during the period January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2013 directly from (a) any Manufacturer and/or (b) L&W Supply Corporation or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates (collectively, “L&W”). 

     

    Even if you meet these requirements, you are not a member of the Joint Settlement Class if you are (a) a federal governmental entity or an instrumentality of the federal government, any judicial officer presiding over the Action, or any member of his or her immediate family and judicial staff; (b) a Manufacturer, or a Manufacturer’s parent, subsidiary, or affiliate (e.g., Pacific Coast Supply, LLC and L&W), or (c) you choose to exclude yourself.

     

    The Claim Form concerns only the Direct Purchaser Settlement Classes – that is, settlements for those who purchased Wallboard directly from any of the Manufacturers or L&W.  There is a separate settlement for those who indirectly purchased Wallboard manufactured by a Defendant for end use and not for resale from a reseller (that is, not directly from a Manufacturer or L&W).  

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  5. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

    Joint Settlement Class Counsel

    H. Laddie Montague, Jr.

    Eric L. Cramer

    Ruthanne Gordon

    Michael C. Dell’Angelo

    Candice J. Enders

    BERGER & MONTAGUE, P.C.

     

    1622 Locust Street

    Philadelphia, PA  19103

     

    Tel: (215) 875-3000

    Email:    hlmontague@bm.net

    ecramer@bm.net rgordon@bm.net

    mdellangelo@bm.net

    cenders@bm.net

     

    Kit A. Pierson

    Brent W. Johnson

    David A. Young

    COHEN MILSTEIN SELLERS & TOLL PLLC

     

    1100 New York Ave., N.W.

    Ste. 500

    Washington, D.C.  20005

    Tel: (202) 408-4600

    Email:    kpierson@cohenmilstein.com

    bjohnson@cohenmilstein.com

    dyoung@cohenmilstein.com

     

    Eugene A. Spector

    Jeffrey J. Corrigan

    Rachel E. Kopp

    Jeffrey L. Spector

    SPECTOR ROSEMAN & KODROFF, P.C.

     

    1818 Market Street

    Ste. 2500

    Philadelphia, PA  19103

    Tel: (215) 496-0300

    Email: espector@srkattorneys.com

    jcorrigan@srkattorneys.com

    rkopp@srkattorneys.com

    jspector@srkattorneys.com

    You will not be personally charged for the services of these attorneys in litigating this case.  If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.  You have the right to enter an appearance in the case through your lawyer if you wish.

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  6. Has the Court approved the Joint Settlement?

    Yes, the Court has approved all of the Settlements.

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  7. What are my options?

    First, Do Nothing.  If you do nothing, you will remain a member of the Joint Settlement Class.  Your interests will be represented by the Class Representatives and Co-Lead Counsel.  As a member of the Joint Settlement Class, you will be bound by any judgment dismissing the lawsuit against American Gypsum, Eagle Materials, NGC and PABCO, and you will not be able to file or maintain your own lawsuit against American Gypsum, Eagle Materials, NGC and PABCO regarding the subject of this lawsuit.  However, you must file a valid claim form to be eligible to receive a share of the Joint Settlement amount once it is paid out, after payment for attorneys’ fees, costs and other expenses as approved by the Court.

     

    Second, you can file a claim in order to collect from the Net Settlement Fund.  If you are a Class Member and did not exclude yourself from the Settlements, you must file a claim in order to receive money from the settlements.  In order to receive money from the settlements, you must complete and sign this Claim Form and return it by First-Class Mail, postmarked no later than November 15, 2018, or as a scanned attachment to an email, sent no later than November 15, 2018. If you fail to submit your Claim Form, or submit it after November 15, 2018, you may not receive any money in connection with the direct purchaser settlements.

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  8. What happens if I do nothing?

    If you do nothing, you will remain a member of the Joint Settlement Class.  Your interest will be represented by Plaintiffs and Co-Lead Counsel and you will be bound by any decision or judgment entered by the Court with regard to the Joint Settlement.   You will not be able to file or maintain your own lawsuit against American Gypsum, Eagle Materials, NGC and PABCO regarding the claims described herein.

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  9. What do I have to do to submit a claim?

    In order to submit a claim, you must complete the Claim Form that was mailed to your home pursuant to these instructions. The Claim Form must be filled out completely, including your tax identification number, and it must be signed. If you are accepting the calculation of your Wallboard purchases contained on the pre-populated Claim Form, then you only need to return the signed and completed Claim Form. If, however, you are supplementing or disputing the amounts on the pre-populated Claim Form, you must also submit supporting documentation.  Please see the instructions on the Claim Form for detailed information on filing a dispute and submitting supporting documents. 

     

    A blank Claim Form is available at www.drywalldirectpurchaserlitigation.com. If you did not receive a Claim Form but believe you have eligible purchases, you may submit the signed and completed Claim Form with supporting documentation to the Claims Administrator.

     

    You may submit your claim either by returning it via First-Class mail to:

     

    Domestic Drywall Claims Administrator

    P.O. Box 404000

    Louisville, KY 40233-4000

     

     

    Please keep a copy of your completed Claim Form and any submitted documentation for your records. If you wish to have confirmation that your Claim Form has been received, you should submit it via certified mail, return receipt requested.

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  10. What should I do if you received more than one Claim Form?

    If you/your firm appeared in the Wallboard Sellers’ records under other names or at different locations, you/your firm and related entities and locations may have received multiple Claim Forms. These forms are unique, and are represented by a unique Claim Number and unique purchase totals.

    If you received multiple Claim Forms and you wish to file for all purchases shown on each Claim Form, you must file all Claim Forms received. You may combine your claims into one claim, but you must mail all Claim Forms together and include a written request that clearly identifies the specific Claim Numbers that you wish to combine.

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  11. What kinds of purchases, and from what companies, are eligible purchases for submitting a claim?

    Products. The litigation concerns paper-backed gypsum wallboard, also known as drywall or plasterboard. Purchases of glass-faced gypsum products, or of Wallboard-related products like joint compound or joint tape, are not eligible for claim submissions.

     

    Sellers. A Wallboard purchase is only eligible if you made the purchase directly from any of the following companies: USG Corporation, United States Gypsum Company, New NGC, Inc., Lafarge North America Inc., Eagle Materials Inc., American Gypsum Company LLC, PABCO Building Products, LLC, CertainTeed Gypsum, Inc., TIN, Inc., Georgia Pacific LLC, or L&W Supply Corp. (or L&W’s subsidiaries or affiliates). These companies are collectively referred to in these materials as the “Wallboard Sellers.” Purchases made from a third-party distributor are not considered “direct” for purposes of submitting a claim.

     

    Time Period. The settlement classes include persons and entities that purchased Wallboard directly from January 1, 2012 through June 16, 2016. Your Wallboard is considered “purchased” on the date that it was invoiced, regardless of when the Wallboard was shipped or received, or when the invoice was paid. The Court has approved an allocation plan whereby the majority of the distribution will be allocated based on Wallboard purchases from January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2013 (the core time period of the litigation, referred to here as the “Damages Period”), with limited payments to class members who only purchased Wallboard from January 1, 2014 through June 16, 2016.

    Location. Only Wallboard purchased in the United States is eligible. Your Wallboard is considered purchased in the United States if it was either billed to or shipped to an address in the United States.

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  12. What will I give up to stay in the Joint Settlement Class?

    By staying in the Joint Settlement Class you give up your rights to individually sue American Gypsum, Eagle Materials, NGC and PABCO for claims related to their alleged violations of the federal antitrust laws, as set forth in the Complaint. That means you cannot sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against American Gypsum, Eagle Materials, NGC and PABCO for the claims asserted in this lawsuit.  It also means that all of the Court’s rulings will apply to you with respect to these Defendants and legally bind you, whether favorable or unfavorable to the Joint Settlement Class.

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  13. I excluded myself from some but not all of the Settlements, can I still file a claim?

    Yes, your exclusion from the Lafarge, TIN and/or the USG Settlement Classes did not affect your ability to participate in and collect from any of the other settlements..  You will receive a claim form where your Wallboard purchases have been calculated based on transactional data produced in the litigation. You have the option to accept this calculation, or to supplement or dispute the calculated amount. In order to receive money from the settlements, you must fill out and sign this Claim Form and return it either (a) by First-Class Mail, postmarked no later than November 15, 2018, or (b) as a scanned attachment to an email sent no later than November 15, 2018.

     

    If you did not receive a Claim Form but believe you have eligible purchases, you may submit the signed and completed Claim Form with supporting documentation to the Claims Administrator.  A blank Claim Form is available at www.drywalldirectpurchaserlitigation.com.

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  14. How will the settlement funds be distributed?

    The funds from all the direct purchaser settlements in this case have been combined into a single Combined Settlement Fund. From this, the Court has already ordered to be paid certain attorneys’ fees, expenses, and service awards to the class representatives. The remainder is the Net Combined Settlement Fund (approximately $120 million), and it will be distributed according to the following plan previously approved by the Court. The substantial majority of the Net Combined Settlement Fund will be distributed pro-rata in accordance with each Authorized Claimant’s Wallboard purchases from January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2013 (the “Damages Period”). Except as described below, each Authorized Claimant that files a timely claim will be allocated a share of the funds available for distribution, such that its share will be in proportion to the total of all Authorized Claimants’ Wallboard purchases during the Damages Period, with a minimum guaranteed distribution to each such Authorized Claimant of $250.

    Several circumstances will result in a reduction in the pro-rata share received for certain types of purchases. These reductions will be accomplished by valuing such purchases at less than 100% in calculating Authorized Claimants’ pro-rata shares.

    • Purchases from Georgia-Pacific will be valued at approximately $0.656 on the dollar. This reflects the fact that approximately 65.6% of the Combined Settlement Fund is attributable to the Joint Settlement with American Gypsum, Eagle Materials, National Gypsum, and PABCO, which was the only settlement that included purchases from Georgia-Pacific.

     

    • Purchases from CertainTeed will be valued at $0.10 on the dollar. This reflects the fact that summary judgment was granted in CertainTeed’s favor in February 2016, which resulted in CertainTeed being dismissed as a defendant from the case.

      

    • If you opted out of one or more settlements, your purchases during the Damages Period will be reduced accordingly. For example, approximately 20.6% of the Combined Settlement Fund is attributable to the USG Settlement. If you opted out of the USG Settlement but no other settlement, your purchases will be valued at approximately $0.794 (i.e., $1 minus $0.206) on the dollar.

    While claims arising from post-2013 purchases were not at the core of the litigation, some funds have been allocated to provide recovery based on such purchases because these class members will be releasing those claims. The Joint Settlement only includes purchases made during the Damages Period (from all the Wallboard Sellers, including Georgia-Pacific), but the earlier settlements with USG, TIN, and Lafarge specified settlement class periods extending after the Damages Period (and did not include purchases from Georgia-Pacific). Therefore, because the USG and TIN Settlement Classes include purchases through November 30, 2014 and the Lafarge Settlement Class includes purchases through June 16, 2016, the earlier settlement classes include some entities that only purchased Wallboard after 2013 (and not during the Damages Period). Accordingly, each Authorized Claimant who purchased Wallboard from a Wallboard Seller (other than Georgia-Pacific) between January 1, 2014 and June 16, 2016, but did not purchase Wallboard from any Wallboard Seller between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2013, will receive $250.

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  15. When will I receive money from the settlements?

    All Claim Forms must be sent to the Claims Administrator no later than November 15, 2018. The Claim Forms must then be reviewed and any disputes resolved. When all disputes are resolved, distributions to Authorized Claimants will be made. There is no way at this time to predict with certainty when the distributions will be made.

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  16. How do I get more information?

    You may contact the Claims Administrator with any questions about the Claim Form or distribution process by mailing correspondence to:

    Domestic Drywall Claims Administrator

    P.O. Box 404000

    Louisville, KY 40233-4000

    Otherwise, you can email the claims administrator at info@drywalldirectpurchaserlitigation.com or call for additional information at (888) 706-3401.

    The Final Approval Order, the Complaint, the Joint Settlement Agreement, the Lafarge Settlement Agreement, the TIN Settlement Agreement, the USG Settlement Agreement and other documents relating to the settlements are posted on this website on the Court Documents tab. 

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