State filed against nine manufacturers of aftermarket auto filters, alleging a scheme to illegally fix prices, allocate customers and eliminate price competition since at least 1999. The suit alleges that high-level filter company executives conspired to maintain artificially high prices for
their companiesï¿½ filters by agreeing among themselves to fix, increase, maintain and/or stabilize the prices of filters sold in the United States, in violation of state and federal antitrust laws and state consumer protection laws. The executives allegedly communicated about prices and even met with each other on numerous occasions, including at filter industry trade association meetings, to fix the prices and allocate customers and markets. The lawsuit further alleges the defendant companies used misleading information in letters seeking to justify their price increases. The suit seeks treble damages, injunctive relief and attorneysï¿½ fees and costs as well as civil penalties of up to $1 million per violation against each defendant. Private litigation is pending, USDOJ investigated but did not pursue case.