Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced that $388,000 in settlement funds would benefit five legal aid programs that assist Oregon women and children in ending dangerous and abusive relationships. The money is Oregon's share of a $34 million multi-state settlement with New York shoe manufacturer Nine West Group, Inc. for allegedly entering into illegal agreements with shoe retailers to fix the price of women's shoes.
Legal services receiving checks this month include Legal Aid Services of Oregon (LASO), Portland, $211,734; Oregon Law Center (OLC), Portland, $70,591; Lane County Legal Aid Service (LCLAS), Eugene, $44,900; Marion-Polk County Legal Aid Service (MPLAS), Salem, $39,544; and Center for Non-Profit Legal Services (CNPLS), Medford, $21,305
"A great outcome that illustrates how important it is for Attorneys General and the federal government to work together to bring actions against companies engaged in violating state and federal antitrust laws," Myers said. "This multi-state enforcement action translated into direct benefits for Oregon women and children to assist them in making better lives for themselves."
All 50 states, five U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, working with the Federal Trade Commission, filed a lawsuit and settlement agreement in March 2000. State and federal investigators found that various Nine West divisions, including Easy Spirit, Enzo Angiolini and Nine West, had engaged in illegal vertical resale price maintenance by prohibiting retailers from discounting certain shoes between January 1988 and July 1999.
The lawsuit claimed that Nine West granted discounts to cooperating retailers and withheld discounts or threatened to cancel or refuse to take orders from companies that did not comply. Nine West Group was purchased in June 1999 by Jones Apparel Group, Inc. of New York.
"These illegal price fixing agreements denied Oregonians the right of an open and competitive market for certain Nine West shoes and directly resulted in Oregon women paying higher prices," Myers said.
Oregon's distribution plan for the settlement monies was proposed by the Department of Justice and supported by the Oregon State Bar, the Oregon Judicial Department, and the Office of Governor John Kitzhaber. The final judgment and consent decree filed December 2000 was approved by the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York.
Oregonians wanting information on consumer protection issues may call the Attorney General's consumer hotline at (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only), (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) or toll-free at 1-877-877-9392. The Department of Justice is online at www.doj.state.or.us.
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