Judge Rejects GM's Request To Reinstate Its Absurd Legal Battle With Fiat Chrysler

Illustration for article titled Judge Rejects GMs Request To Reinstate Its Absurd Legal Battle With Fiat Chrysler
Image: AP (AP)

General Motors’ lawsuit against FCA is dead in the water yet again after a U.S. District Judge denied GM’s attempt to reinstate the suit Friday, though GM plans to not let it go without a fight.

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This mess all started in November 2019 when GM filed a lawsuit claiming FCA had bribed UAW officials into making deals that gave FCA a competitive advantage. GM claimed damages in the billions of dollars. Then in June, U.S. District Judge Paul Borman went on a rant calling the suit “a waste of time and resources” especially in the face of the multiple struggles facing the nation, and ordered GM CEO Mary Barra and FCA CEO Mike Manley to meet to find a resolution in person. That didn’t happen. Instead, GM tried to get the judge and his ruling thrown out. GM didn’t get its way either count and Judge Borman stayed on the case. He then threw the whole thing out in July because GM didn’t have enough evidence to prove that FCA sought to harm its competitor. GM amended the lawsuit with new evidence, but it didn’t impress Judge Borman who once again denied GM today. From the Detroit Free Press:

U.S. District Court Judge Paul Borman issued an order Friday, saying the court did not err in its earlier actions and that GM’s “newly discovered evidence is too speculative to warrant reopening this case.”

Borman said in his order that GM’s new evidence “does not create a reasonable inference that FCA was bribing individuals to infiltrate GM as part of a scheme to directly harm GM, and, therefore, does not change the court’s conclusion that GM’s alleged injuries were not proximately caused by FCA’s alleged RICO violations,” a reference to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

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Naturally, GM is planning to appeal. The new evidence cited in Borman’s ruling came out Monday and is pretty cinematic stuff. From the Freep:

FCA had previously blasted GM’s efforts as “despicable,” saying its proposed amended complaint “reads like a script from a third-rate spy movie, full of preposterous allegations. ...”

GM, which had hired investigators, said it had found new evidence of offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands, Switzerland, Luxembourg and other countries designed to fuel a bribery scheme to harm GM and also claimed ex-GM board member Joe Ashton, who is awaiting sentencing in the UAW corruption probe, was actually a paid mole.

FCA for its part says this entire lawsuit is a ploy to disrupt its merger with the French Automaker PSA Group, which includes brands like Peugeot and Citroën. Both companies will likely continue to throw gobs of money down the drain on this pointless lawsuit for the foreseeable future. At least Judge Borman got to tell them ‘no’ one more time.

Managing Editor of Jalopnik.

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DISCUSSION

I’ve been sort of following this, but not really, so sorry for being the slow kid in the room.

I’ve seen this referred to as absurd a few times here, but if I’m understanding this correctly, the improper relationship between the union and FCA led to the FCA rolling over a bit during contract talks, alleged by GM. FCA being the first to negotiate led to the standard set for GM and Ford being higher than it would normally.

So my questions are this: 1. Is that even close to accurate? Did I just make up something in my head? 2. If this is accurate, isn’t that a rather reasonable thing to sue over?