Federal Multidistrict Litigation
Berman DeValerio is lead counsel in a multidistrict antitrust lawsuit that accused major automakers of a conspiracy to keep out cheaper Canadian exports, hurting U.S. consumers. The case against the car manufacturers (Chrysler, Ford, GM, Honda, Nissan and Toyota) alleged that the auto companies unlawfully conspired to stop the export of cheaper Canadian new vehicles to the United States for sale or resale. By keeping out this cheaper supply of vehicles, the lawsuit alleged, the illegal scheme artificially inflated the prices paid by U.S. car buyers.
Plaintiffs reached settlements with Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. and the Canadian Automobile Dealers' Association totaling $35.7 million. The settlement classes include people or businesses that purchased or leased a new vehicle, manufactured by a number of automakers, from a U.S. dealer during January 2001 through December 2006. Those who purchased vehicles in certain states between January 1, 2001, and April 30, 2003, were eligible for payment from the settlement proceeds. As part of the proposed settlement, Toyota and CADA have also agreed to refrain from engaging in anticompetitive conduct with other automakers and trade associations concerning new vehicle exports from Canada.
The settlements became final earlier this year. Payments have been sent to authorized claimants.
Claims against the other automaker defendants were dismissed in federal court.
Related State Court Litigation
Related lawsuits against several of the automakers continue in state courts in California, Florida, New Mexico, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
In September 2011, plaintiffs in California, Florida, New Mexico and Wisconsin reached a settlement with General Motors of Canada, Ltd. ("GMCL") worth $20.15 million. The settlement, in general, covers those who bought cars in those states from January 1, 2001 to April 30, 2003.
The settlement with GMCL is now final. We are taking steps to seek court approval to distribute the settlement funds to authorized claimants. More information about the GMCL settlement can be found at www.CanadianAutoSettlement.com.
The state cases continue against other defendants. Most notably, plaintiffs in California have appealed the trial court's order granting summary judgment in favor of Ford. That appeal has not been resolved.