Scalia's Death Forces Dow Chemical to Settle $835M Suit

'I think most corporations facing class actions regarded Justice Scalia as a friend'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2016 3:48 PM CST
Scalia's Death Forces Dow Chemical to Settle $835M Suit
In this Feb. 21, 2006 file photo, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia gives the keynote speech on the debate over the role that international and foreign law should play in American judicial decision-making, during a day-long symposium at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.    (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

One consequence of Antonin Scalia's death: Dow Chemical will be setting a class-action lawsuit for $835 million. The company made the announcement Friday, explaining that it now has less of a chance of winning its appeal at the Supreme Court, the Wall Street Journal reports. In 2013, Dow was found liable of allegedly conspiring to fix prices for an industrial chemical between 2000 and 2003, the AP reports; the company was asking the Supreme Court to overturn that decision. But now, with the high court evenly split between typically conservative and typically liberal justices, any split decision would revert back to the original opinion by the lower court, in this case the Kansas federal court that ruled against Dow.

Dow's move could end up being a sign of things to come, as businesses grapple with the fact that the Supreme Court no longer has a conservative majority. "I think most corporations facing class actions regarded Justice Scalia as a friend," the president of the Center for Constitutional Litigation in Washington tells the AP. "He has been a thoroughly consistent vote on their side of the equation." Even so, the Journal notes that even with Scalia on the bench, Dow may have lost its appeal, and the company came close to settling last year. "With this changing landscape, the unknowns, we just decided to put this behind us," a Dow spokesperson says. But, the company's statement notes, Dow "continues to strongly believe that it was not part of any conspiracy and the judgment was fundamentally flawed as a matter of class action law." (More Antonin Scalia stories.)

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