Jan 16, 2012 9:53 AM by AP
EW ORLEANS (AP) - A Louisiana company that bills itself as the world's largest wholesale distributor of swimming pool products is becoming an Olympic-size target for plaintiffs' lawyers filing antitrust lawsuits.
In November, Pool Corp. settled claims by the Federal Trade Commission that the Covington-based company used its "monopoly power" to eliminate would-be rivals by pressuring manufacturers not to sell their products to other distributors.
The settlement, which got final FTC approval on Friday, has spawned a batch of lawsuits in Louisiana, California and Florida over allegations the company's tactics drove up prices, stifled competition and limited consumers' choices.
Pool Corp. didn't pay any money or admit any wrongdoing in resolving the FTC's complaint, but that hasn't deterred plaintiffs' attorneys from pursuing class-action claims against the company and two of its subsidiaries.