Except in this case. The plaintiffs charged price-fixing against a number of suppliers of chemicals used in making polyurethane foam. All of the suppliers except one settled:
"In 2006 Bayer AG agreed to pay $55 million. In 2011 Huntsman International LLC agreed to pay $33 million and BASF Corp agreed to pay $51 million."(Source)Those are not inconsequential sums of money, but at the same time, those figures would barely show up in the annual report, as these companies all have sales around 1000 times larger.
But as I said, all but one of the defendants settled. The last defendant, Dow Chemical, stood firm on their convictions and pressed on with the trial. The end result could not have made anyone in Midland happy - the jury found them guilty and hit them with a $400 million fine. The judge also has the option to triple this making it a nice sum of $1.2 billion. While this will all be appealed (never an easy process as appeal courts loathe overturning jury decisions, and are more likely to just reduce the fine), it's seems pretty clear that taking a bite of the settlement-humble pie might have been the better choice.
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