FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 22, 2016
Tel: (803) 548-3210
Charlotte, NC – German-based hubergroup USA, Inc., (“Huber”) agreed to pay $2 million, plus interest, to settle a lawsuit initiated by John A. Dickson III, CEO of Nation Ford Chemical, alleging it violated the federal False Claims Act by misclassifying certain products being imported into the United States from India as ink, rather than pigment, to avoid paying higher import duties applicable to pigment. Duties upon pigments, a component of inks, are much greater than the duties imposed upon finished inks. The Settlement Agreement was filed under seal on July 26, 2016, and the seal has since been lifted.
Huber, a successor to hubergroup USA, Inc., Hostmann-Steinberg, Inc., and Micro Inks operates an ink manufacturing facility in Kankakee, Illinois. Mr. Dickson initiated the whistleblower lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, Case No. 3:14-CV-559. Under the federal False Claims Act, private citizens such as Mr. Dickson can sue on behalf of the United States and share in any recovery. Mr. Dickson received a portion of the Government’s recovery from Huber, which did not admit liability.
Mr. Dickson had previously filed a lawsuit under the federal False Claims Act against Toyo Ink SC Holdings Co. Ltd, and its affiliates, which was settled for $45 million. In that lawsuit, Mr. Dickson alleged that Toyo Ink misrepresented the country in which its products had originated, in order to avoid antidumping and countervailing duties that had been established to protect United States businesses from unfair foreign pricing and government subsidies. (See https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/japanese-based-toyo-ink-and-affiliates-new-jersey-and-illinois-settle-false-claims-allegation.)
Reflecting on both lawsuits, Mr. Dickson said, “These cases take a lot of work. However, it is good when U.S. Customs receives the amount due, because import tariffs protect American manufacturing jobs. Based upon my research, it appears that for at least the last several months, Huber has been properly classifying its products as pigments, which I believe reflects an ongoing benefit from my efforts.”
The lawsuit was captioned UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ex rel. JOHN A. DICKSON, III, Plaintiff v. HOSTMANN-STEINBERG INC., et. al., Civil Action No. 3:14-CV-559 (W.D.N.C.).
The law firm of James, McElroy & Diehl, P.A., in Charlotte, North Carolina, represented Mr. Dickson in both the lawsuit against Huber and the prior lawsuit against Toyo Ink.
About Nation Ford Chemical
Founded in 1977, Nation Ford Chemical is one of America’s most respected custom manufacturers of specialty organic chemicals. NFC’s products, including Sulfanilic Acid (CAS#121-57-3) and PANA (N-Phenyl-1-naphthylamine, CAS#90-30-2), are sold worldwide through offices in the United States, Europe, and China. NFC has a diverse background in toll manufacturing custom chemicals with production at our 27-acre site in Fort Mill, South Carolina, USA. For more information, visit www.nationfordchem.com.
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