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Preliminary approval has been given to a proposed settlement of a class action lawsuit against paint manufacturers, Sherwin-Williams Co. and PPG Industries Inc. alleging price fixing of auto refinishing paint.

According to court filings, under the proposed settlement PPG Industries, the world’s second-largest car-paint maker, will pay $23 million, and Sherwin-Williams, the largest U.S. paint retailer, will pay $16 million. United States District Court Judge R. Barclay Surrick granted preliminary approval to the settlement on December 28, 2006.

Six auto centers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Illinois filed the lawsuit in 2001 on behalf of consumers who bought auto refinish paint between Jan. 1, 1993, and Dec. 31, 2000. DuPont Co. and BASF AG settled the suit in 2004 for $36 million and $12 million respectively.

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