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Appeals court affirms ruling for DuPont in price-fixing suit

DOVER, Del. (From news reports) -- A federal appeals court has affirmed a judge's ruling in favor of chemical company DuPont Co. in a lawsuit alleging price-fixing involving a widely used industrial pigment.

The Third Circuit court panel on Monday upheld a Delaware judge's decision last year granting summary judgment to DuPont in a lawsuit brought by the Valspar Corporation, a Minnesota-based manufacturer of paints and coatings.

Valspar claimed that it was overcharged $176 million for titanium dioxide after DuPont conspired with three other companies starting in 2002 to control the price of the whitening pigment, resulting in 31 parallel price increases by the companies over the next 12 years.

DuPont argued that the pricing was the natural consequence of the marketplace. The judge ruled that evidence of an actual agreement to fix prices was lacking.

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