Chilly Visit: Court-ordered Manley-Barra Meeting Now Includes Lawyers
The coronavirus pandemic and waves of protests may have captured much of the nation’s attention, but holdovers from the Before Times remain. Among them, General Motors’s racketeering lawsuit against rival Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Remember that?
GM claims FCA, with the help of corrupt UAW officials, hammered out mutually beneficial labor deals that gave the Italian-American automaker an unfair edge over its competition. After appealing a judge’s ruling last week, GM’s CEO, Mary Barra, will now be able to attend a court-ordered meeting with FCA CEO Mike Manley with legal representation in tow.
Oh, to be a fly on that wall.
Last Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Paul Borman ordered the two CEOs to meet up by July 1st and make nice, claiming that a lawsuit is a “nuclear option” that amounts to a “waste of time and resources.” The two would sit down without legal representation present, settle the matter, and report back.
Not so fast, said GM. The automaker balked at the judge’s order, appealing it and demanding Borman’s removal from the case.
On Saturday, GM got part of its wish.
As reported by The Detroit News, Borman amended his earlier order over the weekend, allowing attorneys to be present during both the CEO meet-up and in the subsequent report to court. GM said it will not be swayed from seeking justice for FCA’s actions, and still wishes to see the case handed to a new judge.
The automaker filed the bombshell lawsuit in November, alleging that FCA — including late CEO Sergio Marchionne — were complicit in a scheme to bribe UAW officials in return for receiving the lapdog treatment during contract bargaining. With its lean labor costs and impressive financial standing, FCA would then be in a position to take over GM, the automaker claims. GM says it lost billions of dollars as a result of FCA’s fiscal advantage.
FCA flat-out denies the claims, saying it will defend itself.
From The Detroit News:
GM’s actions suggest it is hopeful that its case will go to discovery, where FCA could be required hand over massive amounts of documents related to the case, including Marchionne’s emails with UAW employees, communications concerning a merger with GM and documents concerning FCA’s pending merger with French automaker Groupe PSA, maker of Peugeot and Citroën vehicles.
FCA reiterated a statement from Friday saying it “will continue to defend itself vigorously and pursue all available remedies in response to GM’s groundless lawsuit. We stand ready to comply with Judge Borman’s order.”
[Image: General Motors]
Gasser on Jun 29, 2020
I’m not a lawyer, but: 1. If everyone could sit down in a room with their adversary and, without lawyers, work out a solution, wouldn’t that put the courts (and lawyers) our of work?? 2. FCA bribing a union to get lower labor costs than their competition does not seem fair or reasonable to either the union members or to GM. There is both the questions of some sort of compensation to GM for the unfair labor cost advantage that FCA manipulated, and also some sort of punitive damage to keep anyone else from thinking this is a great idea to bribe union officials into shortchanging their members. I will follow the court’s decision with interest.
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