Dow Chemical says it will pay $835 million to settle a long-standing class action lawsuit, after the death of Scalia decreased its chances of prevailing at the Supreme Court.
His death may have been a contributing factor in Dow’s decision to settle, but it isn’t clear the justice would have played a controlling role in the case.
Dow said in a statement, that likely changes to the Supreme Court following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia was likely to make it harder for it and other companies to win such cases.
In its petition to the Supreme Court, the company cited a 2011 class action involving Walmart and a 2013 case involving Comcast. Wal-Mart is seeking to throw out a $187 million class action judgment over its treatment of workers in Pennsylvania.
“With the untimely, unfortunate death of Justice Scalia, it leaves in question the current structure of the court”, Dow Chemical spokeswoman Rachelle Schikorra said. Since its ratification, the Constitution has allowed for the Supreme Court to be largely above the political fray, yielding at times despicable decisions but somehow allowing this country to still thrive 228 years later.
The justice called it a “controversial matter” and didn’t answer directly but repeated his belief that the court is not made up of “junior varsity politicians”. That would hand a victory to the plaintiffs, although such a ruling would not set a national precedent.
Scalia’s absence may influence the court’s decisions on which new cases to hear. Williams then pointed out that it could be an eight-person court for a while. The dispute focuses on what evidence is needed to show that members of a class have suffered an alleged injury.
Scalia, of course, was not exactly a fan of class actions. That case has not yet been scheduled for oral argument. The company asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the lower court’s ruling. Nominating judges to the nation’s highest court is traditionally the president’s responsibility, but in an unprecedented move Senate Majority Speaker Mitch McConnell has said Republicans won’t consider any of Obama’s picks because he has less than a year left in office. “The anti-business wing will carry more decisions”.