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Policy

Dow settles big price-fixing suit

by Alexander H. Tullo
March 7, 2016 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 94, ISSUE 10

Dow Chemical has agreed to an $835 million settlement in a decade-old dispute about alleged fixing of polyurethane raw material prices. Citing “recent events in the Supreme Court”—a reference to the death of Justice Antonin Scalia—the company says it is unlikely to receive a favorable ruling in a petition to set aside a lower court’s $1.1 billion judgment against it. Some 2,400 customers maintain that Dow as well as competitors tried to fix urethane chemical prices between 1999 and 2003. Dow’s rivals settled their cases for a total of $139 million in 2011. Dow decided to fight in the courts but lost several cases. In the firm’s petition, Dow’s lawyers argued that the lower court inappropriately certified the polyurethane customers as a class. Treating the customers as a class, Dow argued, goes against the precedent set by Scalia.

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