Korean Air faces price-fixing lawsuit

13th Aug 2007

Seattle-based law firm Hagens Berman
Sobol Shapiro has filed a class action lawsuit against Korean Air Lines on behalf of passengers claiming the airline
illegally conspired with competitors to fix pricing for flights between the
United States and Korea for both airline passengers and cargo flights.The complaint claims the airline is in violation of both the Sherman
Antitrust Act and the Clayton Antitrust Act, the first of which Korean Air
has admitted guilt to in a deal with the U.S. Justice Department’s
antitrust division and has agreed to a $300 million fine for its actions.
  The fine is the first in the antitrust division’s investigation into
the airline industry. British Airways was also levied a $300 million fine
for price fixing on passenger flights.
  “There is no doubt that the airline industry is highly competitive, but
we think trying to make a profit by price fixing is wrong,” said lead
attorney and HBSS managing partner, Steve Berman. “It appears that legal
action like ours is the only way to get their attention and stop these
  The named plaintiff, James Van Horn, filed the suit on behalf of
himself and all others who purchased a ticket on Korean Air from January 1,
2000 until at least July 16, 2006.
  Van Horn is seeking redress for the increased pricing of passenger air
transportation as a result of “the illegal combination and conspiracy” to
inflate prices which was agreed upon between Korean Air and its unnamed
  The filed complaint goes on to state the “defendant and its
co-conspirators entered into and engaged in a combination and conspiracy to
suppress and eliminate competition by fixing the price for passenger air
  “We know from our investigation that this alleged practice could have
impacted hundreds of thousands of travelers in the U.S. and Korea,” said
Berman. “Six years is a long time to be charging artificially inflated
prices and we want those customers to be rightfully reimbursed.”
  The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle and seeks
compensatory, statutory and exemplary relief for damages suffered by the
plaintiff and the proposed class.
  According to the filed complaint the single count being held against
the airline is a violation of the Sherman Act.


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