Office of Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.

December 11, 2001 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357


Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., was joined by representatives from more than 60 statewide charities at the United Way of Central Marylandís Community Resource Bank in Elkridge, where approximately $85,000 worth of toys were distributed as a result of a 1998 antitrust action brought by Curranís office against Toys "R" Us, Mattel, Inc., Hasbro and the Little Tikes Company.

An equal allotment of toys will also be distributed by the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation in Baltimore to charities serving children in other parts of the State.

The antitrust suit filed by Curran, 44 other states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, alleged that the companies conspired to withhold popular toys from low margin warehouse clubs that undercut Toys "R" Us prices. According to the lawsuit, the companies did this by illegally agreeing to make certain toys available to the warehouse clubs only in "combination packs." These combination packs typically cost consumers more and made it difficult for consumers to comparison shop.

As part of the settlement, Toys "R" Us, Hasbro, Mattel and Little Tikes admitted no wrongdoing, but agreed to give Maryland some $350,000 in toys. The companies also gave the state $245,000 in cash, which was donated last year to Reading is Fundamental in cooperation with Baltimore Reads.

"I look forward to this event every year," Attorney General Curran said. "It is rare that we are able to see the direct impact of our work on the people we serve. It is very rewarding."

United Way of Central Maryland and Toys for Tots assisted Curran in the selection of charities and the distribution of the toys.

The organizations who received toys included, among others, Annapolis Anne Arundel County Boys & Girls Club, Baltimore Neighborhoods, Inc., Carroll Child Care Centers of Westminster, Charles County Health Department, Boys & Girls Clubs of Harford County, Domestic Violence Center of Howard County, Childrenís Choice of Salisbury, Montgomery County Collaboration Council, Hispanic Resource Center, Inc. of Accokeek, and Help Our Children Foundation of Crisfield.