Closing arguments delivered in Dow Chemical price-fixing lawsuit

20 February 2013 00:21  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Closing arguments were delivered on Tuesday in a Kansas City, Kansas, federal court in a long-running class-action lawsuit that accuses US-based Dow Chemical of fixing prices for isocyanates.

Jurors began their deliberations in the $1.125bn (€844m) lawsuit on Tuesday afternoon and will continue on Wednesday morning. The trial began on 23 January.

Dow is the last company defending itself against the lawsuit, which was filed in 2004.

The lawsuit accused Huntsman, Bayer, BASF, Dow Chemical and LyondellBasell of fixing prices for propylene oxide (PO)-based polyether polyols, methyl di-p-phenylene isocyanate (MDI) and toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) that were purchased between 1 January 1999 and 31 December 2004.

In 2006, Bayer agreed to pay $55.3m to settle the suit's allegations against it.  

In 2011, Huntsman agreed to pay $33m and BASF agreed to pay $51m. LyondellBasell managed to settle the case for nothing.

The court has approved all of the settlements, leaving Dow as the lone producer fighting the class-action lawsuit.

Some of the plaintiffs in the isocyanates litigation are themselves defendants in another price-fixing case.

In this case, the defendants used isocyanates to make polyurethane (PU) foam, which was then sold to bed and furniture makers.

In the lawsuit, the foam producers are accused of fixing prices for finished polyurethane foam.

So far, one of the foam makers has reached a settlement. Under it, Vitafoam would pay up to $15m. In settling the lawsuit, Vitafoam denied all allegations that it had done anything wrong.

The charges against foam producers Otto Bock and Plastomer were dismissed.

Valle Foam, one of Canada’s largest PU foam producers, has filed for creditor protection.

Others foam makers entangled in the lawsuit include Carpenter, Flexible Foam Products, Future Foam, FXI - Foamex Innovations, Hickory Springs Manufacturing, Leggett & Platt, Mohawk Industries, Scottdel and the Woodbridge Group.

($1 = €0.75)

Additional reporting by Al Greenwood

By: Jeremy Pafford
+1 713 525 2653

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