Dow Chemical settles price-fixing case after Justice Scalia's death
By Anet Josline Pinto
(Reuters) - Dow Chemical Co (DOW.N: Quote) agreed to pay $835 million to settle a decade-long lawsuit on price fixing, saying it had less chance of winning its petition at the Supreme Court after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
Dow, which is in the process of merging with Dupont (DD.N: Quote), said on Friday it decided to settle, without admitting any wrongdoing, citing "growing political uncertainties due to recent events within the Supreme Court."
The chemicals company was found liable by a federal jury in Kansas in February 2013 in the class-action lawsuit, which alleged Dow had conspired to artificially inflate polyurethane prices.
Dow filed a petition in the Supreme Court arguing that the judgment violated class action law in multiple ways, particularly with respect to two rulings authored by Justice Scalia, one in 2011 favoring Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N: Quote) and another in 2013 favoring Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O: Quote).
Justice Scalia died earlier this month. The next justice could tilt the balance of the nation's highest court, which was left with four conservatives and four liberals.
"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," the company said in a statement on Friday.
Several companies, including Dow, had been accused by customers in a 2005 lawsuit of conspiring to fix prices of urethane chemicals in the preceding six years.
Dow was the only defendant not to settle and was found liable in February 2013 by a federal jury in Kansas for $400 million in damages.
That sum was tripled under antitrust law to $1.2 billion, and then reduced to $1.06 billion plus interest because of other settlements. Dow agreed to settle by paying $835 million.
Dow on Friday also noted that the U.S. Department of Justice had closed its own investigation in 2007 without taking any or proposing any action against the company.
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