Judge denies Dow's motion in urethane chemical price-fixing case

Miles Moore
RUBBER & PLASTICS NEWS

Published: May 17, 2013 9:52 am ET
Updated: May 20, 2013 10:56 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Legal, Materials Suppliers
Companies & Associations Dow Chemical Co.

KANSAS CITY, KAN. — Dow Chemical Co. said it will appeal the ruling by a Kansas City federal judge denying Dow's motion to decertify a price-fixing class action and ordering the company to pay $1.2 billion in damages to the plaintiffs.

A jury before the Kansas court found last Feb. 20 that Dow had participated in a long-term conspiracy to fix prices for urethane chemicals between Nov. 24, 2000, and sometime in 2003. At that time, Judge John W. Lungstrum ordered Dow to pay the plaintiffs $400 million. The plaintiffs had originally sought $1.13 billion, Dow said at the time.

Dow was the only defendant not to reach a settlement in the multidistrict litigation, which was consolidated in the Kansas court in 2004 and certified as a class action in 2008. Under federal antitrust law, Lungstrum has the authority to triple the damages.

In denying Dow's motion for decertification, Lungstrum said Dow filed the motion on Jan. 22, the day before the price-fixing trial began. "Dow has not offered any reason why it could not have filed its motion much earlier, and why it instead field its motion literally on the eve of trial," Lungstrum wrote.

"Reconsideration of the court's certification order at that time or even post-trial would cause severe prejudice to plaintiffs, who prepared for a long and complex trial at great expense," he said.

Even if Dow had filed its motion in a timely fashion, the motion would have failed on its merits, according to Lungstrum. Dow argued that because a few of the plaintiffs had suffered no damage from the price fixing, the class action as a whole was invalid. But case law is to the contrary, Lungstrum ruled.

Lungstrum also denied Dow's motion for a new trial. According to him, Dow did not prove that plaintiffs' evidence of classwide impact and damages was insufficient; that the evidence that Dow participated in the conspiracy was insufficient; or that the imposition of joint and several liability violated the Due Process Clause of the Constitution.

"As plaintiffs note and as the jury was instructed, one member of a conspiracy is responsible for the acts of its co-conspirators in furtherance of the conspiracy," Lungstrum wrote.

In its statement, Dow said it believes Lungstrum should have decertified the class action based on a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision involving Comcast Corp. "Dow looks forward to pursuing these and other grounds for reversal," it said.

Because the circumstances in the urethane price-fixing case were different from those of the Comcast case, the Comcast decision was not applicable, Lungstrum ruled.

Dow also said it fully cooperated with the U.S. Department of Justice from 2005 to 2007 in an investigation of the same price-fixing allegations, and that the agency closed the investigations without indicting any person or company.

"Consistent with the outcome in the earlier DOJ investigation, Dow should not be held liable in the civil case," Dow said.


Comments

Judge denies Dow's motion in urethane chemical price-fixing case

Miles Moore
RUBBER & PLASTICS NEWS

Published: May 17, 2013 9:52 am ET
Updated: May 20, 2013 10:56 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

'Thermoforming has nearly limitless possibilities'

April 18, 2014 12:54 pm ET

Julie McAlindon of PolyOne Corp. speaks about the future of thermoforming and the integration of Spartech Corp.    More

Image

Ascend targets nylon for auto applications, opening propylene monomer unit in Texas

April 18, 2014 10:57 am ET

Materials firm Ascend Performance Materials Inc. is in full operation at its new nylon 6/6 compounding line in Florida and will break ground by the...    More

Dutch company launching $100 million PP, PE recycling plant

April 18, 2014 10:42 am ET

Quality Circular Polymers is building a new plastics recycling operation in Geleen, the Netherlands' Chemelot industrial chemical site, with a...    More

Lumena suspends trading, delays report amid claims of 'misrepresenting' financials

April 18, 2014 10:19 am ET

China Lumena New Materials Corp., which says it has the world's largest manufacturing capacity for polyphenylene sulfide resin, has suspended its...    More

PolyQuest spins off FiberQuest unit

April 18, 2014 10:14 am ET

PolyQuest Inc. has spun off its FiberQuest unit — which distributes polyester staple fibers and cotton — as a separate company.    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report provides analysis and discussions of economic and political conditions, market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies. In addition, there are reviews of 25 leading thermoformers in the packaging segment, assessing their growth initiatives and performance metrics over 10 years.

Learn more

Automotive Market Review and Outlook 2014 The Americas

This 75-page report features in-depth analysis of the automotive industry for the Americas. It includes discussions of market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting production and threats as well as design strategies being implemented by the major automakers. Detailed charts and data tables outline North American automotive production over the last five years.

Learn more

Plastics Building & Construction Market Review and Outlook 2014 with MS Excel chart data

This report provides in-depth analysis of the plastic building and construction market for North America, including discussions of trends, opportunities, threats and the latest developments in construction trends that impact plastics processors.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

May 6, 2014 - May 8, 2014Plastics in Medical Devices 2014

May 12, 2014 - May 12, 2014Plastics News Brazil Pharma Summit

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 3, 2015 - February 7, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events