| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Jan 16 Dow Chemical Co is
preparing to defend itself at trial against allegations it took
part in a conspiracy to fix prices of chemicals used to make a
wide range of foam products found in cars, furniture and
Dow was one of several chemical company defendants named in
a class action lawsuit that started nine years ago. But Dow was
the only defendant not to settle and is scheduled to go trial on
Wednesday in federal court in Kansas City, Kansas.
The stakes are high. The plaintiffs, direct purchasers of
the chemical products, estimate damages exceed $1 billion. Under
federal antitrust law, damages are trebled so the final judgment
against Dow could exceed $3 billion.
The lawsuit alleges that Dow, along with its competitors,
began fixing prices for urethane chemicals no later than 1999
when the market was falling and the industry was plagued by
excess demand. The conspiracy to keep prices high continued into
2003, according to the plaintiffs.
At trial, the plaintiffs plan to call at least five
witnesses who they say will provide direct testimony supporting
their case of a price-fixing agreement. Those witnesses include
executives of the companies allegedly involved in the
conspiracy. The class representatives are Seegott Holdings Inc,
Industrial Polymers Inc and Quabaug Corp.
Dow has denied engaging in any price-fixing conspiracy. It
has contended that no witness from any of the defendants in the
case has testified that they actually entered into an agreement
to fix prices.
Dow will be represented by David Bernick of Boies, Schiller
The plaintiffs will be represented by Joe Goldberg of
Freedman Boyd Hollander Goldberg Urias & Ward; Michael Guzman of
Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel; and Kit Pierson of
Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll.
The trial is expected to last six to seven weeks.
Other defendants in the case have settled. In 2006 Bayer AG
agreed to pay $55 million. In 2011 Huntsman
International LLC agreed to pay $33 million and BASF
Corp agreed to pay $51 million. In settling, non e of
the companies admi tted any wrongdoing.
The case is In Re Urethane Antitrust Litigation, U.S.
District Court, District of Kansas, 04-md-01616.