Washington – US flexible foam companies that colluded to fix the price of foam could face a $9bn fine unless they can persuade the Supreme Court the class action they face is invalid.
The companies – including Woodbridge Foam Corp and Carpenter - argue that class certification standards applied by different circuit courts were not compatible.
In the request for review of previous decisions, the companies argue that if the class actions are allowed to stand they could face a pay out of up to $9bn to “millions of class members with nothing in common other than the fact that they purchased products containing polyurethane foam.”
The companies asked for the judicial review (known as a writ of certiorari in the US) in November 2014 and, on 23 December 2014, foam buyers asked the Supreme Court to deny their request.
The foam buyers in the antitrust case fear such a review would overrule a decision by a court in the US 6th Circuit to allow the separate classes, direct and indirect purchasers, to sue for damages. The 6th Circuit made its decision based on an earlier district court ruling, according to the petition put forward by Woodbridge et al.
The companies, which utech-polyurethane.com has extensively reported on previously, believe there was not enough in common between each of the class members for the courts to allow a class action to proceed.
Dow Chemical has submitted documents to the Supreme Court in support of Woodbridge and others.
Dow is also planning to appeal to the Supreme Court to overturn an antitrust fine and compensation for price fixing in polyurethanes bought as a class action. The class is comprised mainly of US foam makers.