A three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit denied CITGO Petroleum Corp.’s motion to appeal former employees’ class certification last week in a move that could lead the gas and energy giant to trial over allegations that it underpaid pension plans by upward of $31 million.

Circuit Judges Frank H. Easterbrook, David F. Hamilton and John Z. Lee filed the order July 3, denying CITGO’s petition to appeal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(f). While the panel did not details its reasoning for denying CITGO’s motion, a potential settlement could be on the horizon as District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly for the Northern District of Illinois has set a hearing for later this week to discuss the possibility of a settlement between the parties.