Without Scalia on the court, business have lost a staunch defender of a business’s right to defraud its customers, and so they are settling with plaintiffs:
Dow Chemical Co (DOW.N) agreed to pay $835 million to settle a decade-long lawsuit on price fixing, saying it had less chance of winning its petition at the Supreme Court after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
Dow, which is in the process of merging with Dupont (DD.N), said on Friday it decided to settle, without admitting any wrongdoing, citing “growing political uncertainties due to recent events within the Supreme Court.”
The chemicals company was found liable by a federal jury in Kansas in February 2013 in the class-action lawsuit, which alleged Dow had conspired to artificially inflate polyurethane prices.
Justice Scalia died earlier this month. The next justice could tilt the balance of the nation’s highest court, which was left with four conservatives and four liberals.
“While Dow is settling this case, it 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,” the company said in a statement on Friday.
While we think of Scalia as a culture warrior, his role as the leading opponent of consumer protection and corporate accountability on the court has arguably hurt more people than anything else that he has done.*
*Except, of course for Bush v. Gore, but, as that opinion notes, it doesn’t count. It never counts.