Dow Chemical Co. has agreed to pay $400 million to settle antitrust claims by customers who opted out of a class action accusing the company of fixing the price of urethanes. This settlement came a month after the company agreed to drop its U.S. Supreme Court appeal and pay class members $835 million. The settlement was reached during a jury trial that began on March 8 in a New Jersey federal court. As a result of the settlement, District Judge William J. Martini agreed to dismiss the suit with prejudice. The settlement will result in net cash payments of $250 million to the Plaintiffs.
The company had agreed in February to the $835 million class settlement instead of continuing to seek U.S. Supreme Court review of a $1 billion judgment against it for price-fixing of urethanes. Like the Plaintiffs in the class action, the opt-out plaintiffs allege Dow colluded with other businesses to artificially inflate the prices of urethane chemicals, in violation of antitrust laws.
After the judge presiding over multidistrict litigation (MDL) in Kansas certified the class of buyers who purchased Dow and other Defendants’ products from 1999 to 2004, a number of the customers, including Sherwin-Williams Co. and Leggett & Platt Inc., opted out of the class action, alleging that the price-fixing activity took place from at least 1994 to 2004. Leggett & Platt reached a $38 million settlement with Dow, according to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.