As reported by Law360 (subscription), a Pennsylvania federal judge has ordered that a group of chemical manufacturers face class action litigation accusing them of conspiring to manipulate the prices of two chemicals used to make polyurethane. The complaint alleges that BASF, Covestro LLC and Dow Chemical Co. used plant closures and limited supplies to illegally drive up the prices of methylene diphenyl diisocyanate, or MDI, and toluene diisocyanate, necessary components of widely-used polyurethane. Defendants’ attempt to have the lawsuit dismissed were denied.
In an order issued on Monday, March 10, 2020, Senior U.S. District Judge Donetta Ambrose wrote, “Plaintiffs’ (class action complaint) avers coordinated parallel conduct, price increases, plant closures and supply disruptions, defendants’ communication and presence at industry meetings prior to pricing announcements, actions potentially inconsistent with competitive market behavior, and a highly concentrated relevant market that was susceptible to price fixing…Additionally, plaintiffs’ CAC sufficiently avers a motive, that defendants acted against their interests, and evidence implying traditional conspiracy.”
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