MIDLAND, Mich.—Dow Chemical Co. has reached a settlement in the urethanes class action litigation for $835 million in the face of a changing U.S. Supreme Court.
The case, originally brought by a number of customers between 13 and 16 years ago, claimed the U.S. chemicals giant fixed the price of polyether polyols.
Dow said the agreement depended on the Supreme Court agreeing to postpone an action Dow had brought, asking it to look at the decision taken by the District Court in Kansas to hand down a $1.1 billion fine.
It also depended on the District Court in Kansas agreeing the settlement, which would settle that court's $1.1 billion judgment, resolve post-judgment interest and an anticipated award of attorney's fees against Dow entered in 2013, the company said.
Dow said in a statement that likely changes to the Supreme Court following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia were likely to make it harder for it and other companies to win such cases. The firm added that it “believes this settlement is the right decision for the company and our shareholders.”
Dow added that 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.
“Further, the judgment covered alleged legacy activity between 2000 and 2003. 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,” the firm said.
“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 case has been in progress for many years, with Dow losing and appealing in a number of lower courts, most recently the appeals court for the 10th Circuit based in Colorado. This prompted the firm to appeal to the Supreme Court in 2014.