The Urethane Blog

Courtroom Update Part II

UPDATE 2-U.S. court filing indicates Dow settlement talks over $1 billion price-fixing judgment


(Updates with statements from both sides)

By Lawrence Hurley

(Reuters) – Dow Chemical Co and plaintiffs that won a $1.06 billion judgment against the company over claims it artificially inflated polyurethane prices indicated in a Supreme Court filing on Monday they were settling the case but then abruptly backtracked.

Both sides now say no settlement has been reached.

Lawyers for Dow and for the companies that sued the chemical giant for alleged price fixing filed a joint motion with the court on Monday saying the parties had "reached a written settlement," conditioned upon the Supreme Court justices putting the case on hold. The court docket noted that the motion was then withdrawn.

The court has not yet acted on the petition filed by Dow contesting the judgment but the docket indicates the case has not been put on hold.

Dow spokeswoman Rebecca Bentley said in a statement that because the Supreme Court did not act on the motion immediately "a condition precedent for a potential settlement was not met and there is no settlement."

Bentley added that the company "has explored options and will continue to be open to options to appropriately resolve this lengthy class action litigation."

Lawyers for the plaintiffs, companies that purchased chemicals from Dow, also issued a statement confirming no settlement had been reached.

"The plaintiff class of businesses overcharged by Dow's price fixing is confident that the jury's verdict, which has been upheld by every federal judge to review it, will continue to be vindicated on appeal," the statement said.

Polyurethanes are chemical products used to make consumer and industrial goods such as car seating, footwear, insulation and mattress foam.

Several companies including Dow had been accused 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, only to be found liable in February 2013 by a federal jury in Kansas City, Kansas for $400 million of 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.

The case is Dow v. Industrial Polymers Inc, U.S. Supreme Court, 14-1091. (Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)