Dow Chemical was the final holdout in the polyurethane litigation that has been ongoing for over a decade. It was announced, they settled the polyurethane class action lawsuit for $835 million. According to the company, they decided to settle because it was easier than dealing with unknown factors with the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. In their press release about the settlement, they stated
Growing political uncertainties due to recent events within the Supreme Court and increased likelihood for unfavorable outcomes for business involved in class action suits have changed Dow’s risk assessment of the situation.
The company was accused of engaging in price-fixing on products that contained polyurethane for a long period of time. Dow Chemical vehemently denied the allegations and has fought them even after juries awarded huge verdicts against them. They had an appeal before the Supreme Court where they were hoping to have the verdicts overturned. Some news outlets have reported even if the Supreme Court heard the case in Scalia’s absence, a tie would have upheld the lower court’s decision which was bad for Dow Chemical. The death of Justice Scalia caused them to reevaluate the situation and settle the lawsuit which they have been dealing with for over 10 years. This should put an end to all polyurethane related litigation because Dow was the last company fighting. All the other companies settled their lawsuits with the plaintiffs. Once news got around Dow Chemical settled this lawsuit, analysts offered positive comments about it. So the plaintiffs now have to wait for distribution of the funds to remedy the problem.
Photo Credit: Dow Chemical Logo by TheTaxHaven
Reporters from The Real Deal newspaper did a story on tenants of a residential building in New York City suing the landlord for violating the law. According to the story, a New York State Supreme Court judge granted their lawsuit class action status, which alleges the landlord took advantage of credits for regulated apartments and at the same time charged his residents deregulated prices for 20 years. The tenants are looking for compensation for the past overcharges.
Written by Lulaine Compere.
The image of a victim of some crime up on the stand pointing to the defendant saying “That’s the one!” is probably the most powerful one of the trial. The human emotion in eyewitness accounts takes over, and juries are pulled into those stories. The Supreme Court along with multitudes of social scientists, however, are revisiting whether or not they are fair and worth even using in court.
There are multiple studies that show that nearly 1/3 of eyewitness identifications are wrong. The vast majority of wrongful convictions that have been overturned were a result of false identifications. Scientists note that memory is a fragile thing…it is not a perfect picture that is set in stone, but can be molded and shaped by environment, stress, peer pressure, etc.
The United States Supreme Court last visited the issue in the 70s, and since then, our understanding of memory and the human mind in general has been completely reshaped. Well over 2,000 studies have been published. “What they collectively show is that it is perilous to base a conviction on a witness’s identification of a stranger. Memory is not a videotape. It is fragile at best, worse under stress and subject to distortion and contamination.”
What do you think? Should eyewitness testimony and identification be held so highly in our courts? Is it even possible for jurors to take these portions of the trial less seriously than evidence-based material?
Chime in with your thoughts!