The Reuters press agency reports that a federal appeals court in Denver has rejected Dow Chemical Co.'s attempt to overturn a $1.06 billion fine imposed after customers accused the firm of conspiring to fix the price of polyurethane chemicals in the U.S.
According to the report, Midland, Mich.-based Dow is “extremely disappointed” with the result and may go to the Supreme Court if necessary. The firm added: “Dow has always vigorously denied plaintiffs' allegations of price fixing and will continue to vigorously defend this litigation.”
Circuit Judge Robert Bacharach said jurors “could have inferred” from the evidence that prices were higher because of a conspiracy.
Bacharach added: “Price-fixing affects all market participants creating an inference of class-wide impact even when prices are individually negotiated.”
The case is Dow Chemical Co v Seegott Holdings Inc et al, 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals No 13-3215.
Arguments against Dow's defense were made in a related case in February when its bid to decertify the $1.1bn class action were rejected by the plaintiffs' lawyers.
A jury before a lower court in Kansas found in February 2013 that Dow had participated in a long-term conspiracy to fix prices for urethane chemicals between November 2000, and sometime in 2003. At that time, Judge John 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, Judge Lungstrum has the authority to triple the damages.