The State of Florida sought treble damages, civil penalties, and injunctive relief against defendant carbon dioxide companies, alleging that since 1968, the companies engaged in a conspiracy to restrain trade and commerce by allocating customer contracts and/or rigging bids for the supply of carbon dioxide to governmental entities and other purchasers in Florida. The state alleged that defendant companies would allocate contracts for the supply of carbon dioxide among themselves and their co-conspirators to avoid free competition for the award of carbon dioxide supply contracts. Further, the complaint alleged that the defendant companies would not attempt to obtain the business of any carbon dioxide user under contract with a co-conspirator if the carbon dioxide was being supplied at or below the published schedule price, submitting complementary bids or price quotes to conceal their conspiracy to allocate the supply. In order to resolve the dispute, the parties agreed to settlement terms in 1996, by which the defendant companies paid the State of Florida $1.6 million. Of the settlement sum, $667,128.11 was distributed to 22 Florida local and county governments who were affected by the overcharges. A separate class action suit was filed by various private companies also affected by the conspiracy.