Ainsworth settles OSB lawsuit

Canadian wood products manufacturer Ainsworth has become the second defendant to opt out of a U.S. class action lawsuit against oriented strand board (OSB) producers by agreeing to an $8.6 million settlement. In a prepared statement released on Oct. 19, the company stressed that it denies “each and every one of the plaintiffs’ claims and strongly asserts that it has not violated U.S. antitrust or any other laws.” The decision to enter into the settlement “was solely based on the need to avoid prolonged, expensive litigation,” the statement said.

The antitrust case, filed in February 2006 and granted class action status on Aug. 3, alleges that OSB manufacturers began conspiring together in 2002 to artificially reduce the supply and inflate the prices of OSB. Other defendants named in the lawsuit are Louisiana-Pacific, Weyerhaeuser, Norbord Industries, Potlatch, Tolko Industries and Grant Forest Products.

J.M. Huber has also agreed to a settlement, agreeing to pay $2 million to individuals or businesses that purchased OSB from June 1, 2002, to March 5, 2007. All settlements will be held in escrow until the entire case is resolved.

In a statement filed with the court, Huber also denied the charges but cited the expense and distraction of litigation as its reason for exiting the case.