Case Details

Year Initiated/Committed


Year Resolved


Settlement Amount



Third District Court, Salt Lake County, Utah

Docket Number


Lead State


Participating States



Daicel Chemical Industries, Ltd.; Eastman chemical Co.; Hoechst Aktiengesellschaft; Nutrinova Nutrition Specialties & Food Ingredients, GmBH; Hoechst Celanese Corp., a/a/a/CNA Holdings, Inc.; Nutrinova, Inc; Celanese Ag; Ueno Fine Chemicals Industry, Ltd.; Nippon Gohsei, a/a/a Nippon Synthetic Chemical Industry Col, Ltd; Aventis, S.A.

Case Description

State of Utah brought an action against the defendants for restitution, damages and civil penalties on behalf of overcharged state agencies and also as “parens patriae” on behalf of Utah citizens injured by Defendants’ illegal conduct. Defendants are manufacturers of sorbates which are preservatives widely used to inhibit the growth of microbes in food and beverage products, such as cheese and other dairy products, baked goods, processed foods, fruit juices and soft drinks. The state alleged that defendants colluded, fixed prices and allocated markets. The specific charges were that defendants had a continuing agreement, and acted with concerted action to: 1) agree to fix and maintain prices and to coordinate price increases for sorbates and 2) agree to allocate among major sorbate producers the volumes of sorbates to be sold in the United States and elsewhere All ten manufacturers earlier pleaded guilty to criminal charges brought by the US. Department of Justice, and paid criminal fines totaling $132 million. The Utah court dismissed this action for lack of personal jurisdiction over the named defendants.