The U.S. Department of Justice announced on September 3, 2020 that a federal grand jury in Savannah, Georgia, has indicted a ready-mix concrete company and four individuals for fixing prices, rigging bids and allocating customers and markets in violation of antitrust laws. The criminal indictment charges Evans Concrete, LLC; James Clayton Pedrick; Gregory Hall Melton; John “David” Melton; and Timothy “Bo” Strickland with conspiring to violate the federal Sherman Act in order to artificially raise or sustain prices for ready-mix concrete.

The criminal charges come after the 2017 filing of Pro Slab, Inc. et al. v. Argos USA, Inc. et al., pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, a related civil class action case for price fixing, bid rigging and market allocation in several ready-mix concrete markets spanning from Savannah, Georgia to Charleston, South Carolina. The defendants are: Argos USA LLC; Argos Ready Mix LLC; Lafarge North America, Inc., Coastal Concrete Southeast II, Thomas Concrete, Inc.; Thomas Concrete of South Carolina, Inc.; Evans Concrete, LLC; Elite Concrete LLC; Troy D. Baird and Hurley Cook, III aka Trey Cook.

In early 2018, Cohen & Malad, LLP was appointed to serve as Interim Co-Lead counsel in the civil litigation, along with Minneapolis firm Heins Mills & Olson, PLC and Preti Flaherty Beliveau & Pachios LLP from Portland, Maine. Cohen & Malad, LLP attorneys and their co-lead counsel have a history of successfully litigating similar claims of price fixing, bid rigging and other antitrust violations including In re Iowa Ready-Mix Concrete Antitrust Litigation, U.S. District Court, District of Iowa and In re Ready-Mixed Concrete Antitrust Litigation, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana.

In September 2019, the Court denied the defendants’ motions to dismiss.  Since then, Interim Co-Lead Counsel have been actively taking discovery from defendants.  The proposed class consists of direct purchasers of ready-mix concrete from the defendants since January 1, 2010.

Cohen & Malad, LLP attorney and co-lead counsel Scott Gilchrist, said, “The criminal indictments allege a scheme that is familiar to us from our investigation. We think the grand jury’s indictment is an important step toward recovering overcharges for our class members.”