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Louisiana-Pacific settles in OSB suits

Louisiana-Pacific has become the latest wood products company to settle in an ongoing series of oriented strand board class action litigation.

LP is the fifth company to come to a settlement in the antitrust case, filed in 2006, which alleges that OSB manufacturers began conspiring together in 2002 to artificially reduce the supply and inflate the prices of OSB.

Four of the defendants have reached settlements so far: Potlatch, Huber Engineered Woods, Ainsworth and Georgia-Pacific.

All the companies have denied the accusations as part of their settlements, including LP, which wrote in a statement that it came to the settlements “in order to limit the risks and costs associated with at least two lengthy jury trials.”

“LP has vigorously contested the plaintiffs’ allegations and vehemently denies that it violated any U.S. antitrust law or any other law,” the company said in a statement.

LP agreed to put $44.5 million into an escrow account for the benefit of a group of direct buyers of OSB who are named in the suits. The company also said it would pay $2.3 million into an escrow account for another group of indirect purchasers of OSB.

“We were prepared to continue to vigorously defend this matter and believe we would have prevailed. However, because of the unpredictable nature of the judicial process and the inherent risks surrounding a jury trial, a positive verdict could not be guaranteed,” said LP CEO Rick Frost in a statement.

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