Detroit, Michigan, August 7, 2008 – Martin G. McNulty, a resident of Novi, Michigan, filed a lawsuit on July 23, 2008 alleging that he was fired by packaged ice company Arctic Glacier, Inc. for his refusal to participate in a packaged ice industry conspiracy to allocate customers and territories, and alleging that the Defendants participated in a group boycott by refusing to employ Mr. McNulty because of his cooperation with government authorities.
Mr. McNulty began cooperating with federal authorities in May 2005, providing information regarding a conspiracy involving Reddy Ice, Arctic Glacier, and Home City, including information about specific meetings and agreements between the Defendants. At the request of the FBI, Mr. McNulty tape recorded a number of telephone calls with members of the conspiracy, and wore a recording device to an in-person meeting with a conspirator.
As a result of Mr. McNulty’s actions and the DOJ’s and FBI’s investigation, Home City Ice has pleaded guilty to criminal antitrust charges, a grand jury has been empanelled in Detroit, Michigan to investigate other packaged ice companies, and over 70 civil class action lawsuits have been filed against the ice companies.
“It was important to me to stand up and fight against my former employer’s wrongdoing,” Martin McNulty stated. “I never imagined that taking a principled stand would cause as much hardship to my family as we’ve endured over the past three years, but I’m pleased that the federal investigation appears to be paying off, and that consumers may receive some measure of justice as a result of the class action lawsuits that have been filed.”
“It is rare for someone to have the courage to stand up to an unlawful cartel like Marty did,” stated Daniel Low, a partner at Kotchen & Low LLP, the law firm representing Mr. McNulty. “All too often, potential whistleblowers in Marty’s situation keep quiet because of threats or offers of economic rewards.” The lawsuit alleges that, after Mr. McNulty started cooperating with the authorities, he was offered large sums of money to stop cooperating. Mr. McNulty declined the offer, even though he was unemployed for a number of months, was eventually forced to accept a lower-paying job in another industry, and lost his home to foreclosure.
The Washington, DC based law firm of Kotchen & Low LLP was founded earlier this year. The firm specializes, in part, in antitrust and fraud litigation and counseling, and – among other industries – has a particular expertise in the consumer goods and retail industry. The firm’s blog, the Consumer Goods & Retail Industry Litigation Blog, is available at cpg-retail-litigation.kotchen.com.
Visit www.kotchen.com to learn more about the firm and its partners, Mr. Kotchen, and Mr. Low.