Dow Chemical settles price-fixing case for $835 million

Hinting at the death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, The Dow Chemical Company has agreed to settle a polyurethane price-fixing scheme with plaintiffs for $835 million.

Without specifically mentioning Scalia by name, a Dow statement on the matter called attention to “Growing political uncertainties due to recent events within the Supreme Court and increased likelihood for unfavorable outcomes for business involved in class action suits have changed Dow’s risk assessment of the situation.”

Dow’s statement, in part, read:

“While Dow is settling this case, it continues to strongly believe that it was not part of any conspiracy and the judgment was fundamentally flawed as a matter of class-action law.  Dow cooperated with an extensive investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, which closed its investigation in 2007 without taking any or proposing any action against Dow.  Dow’s position at the U.S. Supreme Court is that the judgment violates class action law in multiple ways, notably with respect to the Supreme Court’s Walmart decision of 2011 and the Comcast decision of 2013, both authored by Justice Scalia.”

The price-fixing lawsuit, originally filed against the chemical giant in 2005, accused  Dow and several other firms of conspiring to fix the price of urethane chemicals between 1999 and 2005.

Unlike other defendants in the 2005 case, Dow refused to settle and was found liable for $400 million in 2013.

Under an antitrust law, the settlement was tripled to $1.2 billion, but reduced to $1.06 billion shortly thereafter due to previous settlements.

Dow appealed and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s ruling in September 2014.

Facing the possibility of a split decision on the eight-member Supreme Court, meaning the Appeals Court’s decision would be binding, Dow settled on Friday.


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