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For Immediate Release
October 9, 2002
Contact: Sean Caine, 410-576-6357

CURRAN ANNOUNCES ANTITRUST LAWSUIT
SETTLEMENT WITH MAKERS OF GEORGE FOREMAN GRILLS

Attorney 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.

The 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.

"The alleged practices that the makers of this product employed were unfair to customers and to its competitors," Attorney General Curran said.

Under 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.

Because 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.

Consumers 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.

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