October 9, 2002
Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
ANNOUNCES ANTITRUST LAWSUIT
SETTLEMENT WITH MAKERS OF GEORGE FOREMAN GRILLS
General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., announced today the settlement of
an $8.2 million nationwide settlement with housewares manufacturer
Salton, Inc., which resolves an antitrust lawsuit filed today by
Maryland, 43 other states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.
lawsuit, the result of a two-year investigation, alleges that Salton
coerced retailers into fixing the price for Salton's George Foreman
contact grills, and into excluding Salton's competitors from their
shelves. Salton's George Foreman contact grills are popular
grills that cook food on both sides simultaneously. Under the policies
challenged by the Attorneys General, when retailers sold at a discount
or stocked a competitor's product, Salton suspended the retailer
until it complied with Salton's policies.
alleged practices that the makers of this product employed were
unfair to customers and to its competitors," Attorney General
the settlement, Salton will pay $8 million in damages, $200,000
in investigative expenses, and notice costs. Salton will also agree
to a court-order that prevents it from engaging in similar anti-competitive
conduct in the future. The damage amount is subject to adjustment
depending on the number of states signing on to the settlement.
of the difficulty and expense of identifying the many individual
consumers and returning funds to them, the settlement agreement
provides that the restitution funds are distributed to charitable
entities and/or government agencies for initiatives to improve health
care and nutrition in ways that benefit, as a group, the purchasers
of the Grills. Specific information about the distribution will
be made available in March 2004, when Salton will complete its payments.
may check for further information on the settlement by logging on
to the Attorney General's web site at www.oag.state.md.us.
Notice about the contents of the settlement will be posted as soon
as it is approved by the Court.