Labor

Dow Chemical Would Rather Pay $835 Million Than Take Its Chances With a Scalia-less Supreme Court

Dow Chemical Co. has decided to settle an antitrust case for big bucks now that Antonin Scalia's gone.

President Reagan and Justice Scalia
Photo Credit: Wikimedia

In a move that highlights a notorious aspect of Antonin Scalia's legal legacy, Dow Chemical has decided to settle an antitrust case for millions of dollars rather than trying to overturn a jury award.

The company was planning to challenge a $1.06 billion award to purchasers of compounds for urethanes, chemicals that are used to make foam upholstery. A jury found that Dow conspired with four other companies to fix urethane prices. Dow disputed the decision and asked the Supreme Court to take the case on appeal.

But now with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the corporation has changed its mind. Scalia had a long history of siding with companies over group suits like this one. Scalia wrote the 5-4 ruling in 2011 that stated female workers could not sue Wal-Mart for gender discrimination. In 2013 he was the deciding vote to protect Comcast from a monopoly suit. That same year he sided with American Express over merchants attempting to sue the company via antitrust law.

A Bloomberg piece by Jef Feeley quotes Gregory Garre, who was President George W. Bush’s top Supreme Court lawyer: "Class-actions is one of the areas where Justice Scalia’s absence is likely to have an impact. Companies will have to be careful what they ask for in seeking review, or at least face an added burden in prevailing at the court on class-action issues.”

Michael Arria is an associate editor at AlterNet and AlterNet's labor editorFollow @MichaelArria on Twitter.

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