MDL 2311 (E.D. Mich.).
SRK has been appointed Interim Co-Lead Counsel for Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs for all product cases filed in In re Automotive Parts Antitrust Litigation (MDL. No. 2311). These massive price-fixing class actions are being brought on behalf of direct purchasers who were overcharged for various automotive parts, including wire harness products, heater control panels, instrument panel clusters, fuel senders, occupant safety restraint system products, bearings, air conditioning systems, starters, windshield wiper systems and windshield washer systems. All cases are currently pending before Judge Marianne Battani in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit.
The U.S. Department of Justice, the Japan Fair Trade Commission and the European Commission continue to investigate the Automotive Parts industry, and criminal fines levied total $2.4 billion to date, with thirty-two companies and twenty-nine executives having pleaded guilty or having agreed to plead guilty in the United States. A Department of Justice spokesperson recently told the Automotive News that “[i]n terms of the breadth of the investigation and the scope of the commerce involved, there’s certainly nothing on the record that parallels this.” As Judge Battani stated in her April 30, 2014 Order and Opinion denying the defendants’ motion to dismiss in the fuel senders case, “In re: Automotive Parts Antitrust Litigation arises out of the largest investigation into antitrust violations ever undertaken by the Department of Justice. The number of guilty pleas that have been entered in this multi-district litigation suggest the anticompetitive conduct was business as usual, not the work of a rogue employee.”
Thus far, Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs have reached preliminary approval and/or settlements for wire harness products, instrument panel clusters, heater control panels, and occupant safety parts with over ten defendants and totaling more than $311 million.