Cedar Shake & Shingle Bureau (CSSB) and manufacturers Waldun Forest Products, Ltd., and Anbrook Industries Ltd. face a proposed class action lawsuit centered on an alleged conspiracy between the companies to fix the prices of cedar shakes and shingles.
Cedar Shake & Shingle Bureau (CSSB) and manufacturers Waldun Forest Products, Ltd., and Anbrook Industries Ltd. face a proposed class action lawsuit centered on an alleged conspiracy between the companies to fix the prices of cedar shakes and shingles. Filed in Washington federal court by a Minnesota resident, the lawsuit claims the defendants’ alleged anticompetitive activities have led end-users such as the plaintiff to pay a higher price for the cedar roofing and siding materials since at least February 27, 2015.
The case explains that CSSB is a trade association comprised of manufacturers of shakes—hand-split cedar roofing materials—and shingles, which are uniformly sawn cedar materials used for both roofing and siding. CSSB’s co-defendants, the case says, are two of the largest shakes and shingles manufacturers, as well as reportedly powerful members of CSSB’s board of directors.
The lawsuit claims CSSB, which allegedly drafted grading and packing rules for the building materials at the center of the suit and owns the trademark to “Certi-Label” shakes and shingles, plays a significant role in the regulation of the industry. According to the case, CSSB Certi-Label shakes and shingles make up approximately 95 percent of the U.S. market, and “[v]irtually all” of the high-end shakes and shingles manufacturers who sell in the United States are CSSB members.
These facts, the case argues, provide the defendants ample opportunity for anti-competitive price-fixing activities. The lawsuit alleges that CSSB colluded with Waldun and Anbrook to, despite market conditions, raise the prices of cedar shakes and shingles over time by slowing production and allowing inventory to build up. From the complaint:
“The manufacture of new cedar shakes and shingles began declining in 2009 and remained relatively low through 2016. However, beginning in 2012, the inventories of cedar shakes and shingles maintained by these manufacturers started to increase substantially. At the same time,...prices for shingles and shakes were generally increasing over this time period. In a competitive market, manufacturers would opt to sell at a lower price rather than accumulate inventory. This build-up of inventory is suggestive of anti-competitive restrictions by manufacturers of cedar shakes and shingles in order to maintain or increase prices.”
The effect of these alleged practices, the suit says, is that consumers such as the plaintiff were forced to pay higher prices for shakes and shingles than they would have in a competitive market. The lawsuit alleges the defendants’ behavior violated federal law and antitrust laws in every state.