Although the company specifically denied violating the antitrust laws, it agreed to the settlement given the high cost and burden of litigation, which is expected to continue for several more years.
Following the announcement in April 2008 of a government investigation of pricing practices of ocean carriers operating in the Puerto Rico trade, several class action lawsuits were filed against Crowley and other domestic ocean liner carriers on behalf of those who directly purchased domestic ocean shipping services in the Puerto Rico trade lane between 2002 and 2008. Those lawsuits were consolidated into a single multidistrict litigation proceeding in the US District Court for Puerto Rico. The complaints alleged violations of US and Puerto Rican antitrust laws and sought treble damages.
“This was a business decision to put the matter behind us as quickly as possible,” said Michael Roberts, Crowley senior vice president and general counsel. “We simply felt that it was in the best interests of our company, and our customers, to move beyond this dispute.”