Lawsuits involving the prices of certain vehicle component parts have been settled with certain Defendants in various class actions in this litigation (“Settling Defendants”). The Settling Defendants are identified below. The cases are separate class actions within the lead case known as In re Automotive Parts Antitrust Litigation, 12-md-02311 (E.D. Mich.), which is currently before United States District Judge Marianne O. Battani.
You may be part of a class action settlement if you are a Truck and/or Equipment dealership that indirectly purchased certain component parts and/or vehicles for resale or lease containing these parts (“Dealer”) in the District of Columbia or one or more of the following states: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
What Are The Lawsuits About?
The lawsuits claim that the Defendants in each lawsuit agreed to unlawfully raise the price of certain motor vehicle component parts. As a result, dealers of Trucks and/or Equipment who purchased for resale or lease Trucks and/or Equipment containing those parts or who indirectly purchased those parts as replacement parts, which were manufactured or sold by a Defendant or any subsidiary, affiliate, or alleged co-conspirator of a Defendant may have paid more than they should have. Although the Settling Defendants have agreed to settle, the Settling Defendants do not agree that they engaged in any wrongdoing or are liable or owe any money or benefits to Plaintiffs. The Court has not yet decided who is right.
The Court has appointed Duane Morris LLP as interim class counsel (“Class Counsel”) in these lawsuits to represent your dealership and all other members of the class actions. Your dealership will not be charged directly by these lawyers, and any fees that they are paid will come from any settlements or recovery in these lawsuits. If your dealership wants to be represented by its own lawyer, it may hire one at its own expense.
Who’s Included In The Settlements?
Your dealership is part of one or more of the Settlements if it is a Truck and Equipment Dealer and falls within the definition of one or more of the settlement classes (“Settlement Classes”) approved by Judge Battani. The class definitions are set forth in the full length Notice, which is available by clicking HERE. The term “Truck and Equipment Dealer” or “Truck and Equipment Dealership” means an entity or person authorized to engage in the business of selling or dealing in Trucks and/or Equipment at retail in the United States. A list of the parts included in these Settlements and their manufacturers can be found by clicking HERE
Who Are The Settling Defendants?
The Settling Defendants are: Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd., Sumitomo Wiring Systems, Ltd., Sumitomo Electric Wiring Systems, Inc. (incorporating K&S Wiring Systems, Inc.), Sumitomo Wiring Systems (U.S.A.) Inc.; Yazaki Corporation and Yazaki North America, Inc.; G.S. Electech, Inc., G.S. Wiring Systems, Inc., and G.S.W. Manufacturing, Inc.; DENSO Corporation and DENSO International America, Inc.; Tokai Rika Co., Ltd. and TRAM, Inc., d/b/a Tokai Rika U.S.A. Inc.; LEONI Wiring Systems, Inc. and Leonische Holding Inc.; Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd. and American Furukawa, Inc.; Autoliv, Inc., Autoliv ASP, Inc., Autoliv B.V. & Co. KG, and Autoliv Japan Ltd.; and ZF TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. (formerly known as “TRW Automotive Holdings Corp.”) and TRW Deutschland Holding GmbH. A list of the Defendants, their affiliates, and the alleged co-conspirators for each case involving the parts described in the Settlement Class definitions and settlement agreements is available by clicking HERE.
What Do The Settlements Provide?
Generally, you are included if, at any time between 1999 and 2016 for Vehicle Wire Harness Systems or between 2003 and 2015 for Occupant Safety Systems, you were a dealer of heavy-duty (Class 8) or medium-duty (Class 4, 5, 6, & 7) trucks, buses, commercial vehicles (excluding automobiles, light trucks, vans, sports utility vehicles, crossovers, pickup trucks, and/or similar vehicles sold by automobile dealers), all-terrain vehicles, construction equipment, mining equipment, agricultural equipment, railway vehicles, materials-handling vehicles, and other similar vehicles (“Trucks and/or Equipment”) that: (a) purchased Trucks and/or Equipment containing a Component Part, or (b) indirectly purchased a Component Part as a replacement part. “Indirectly” means you bought the vehicle replacement part from someone other than the manufacturer of the part.
The specific definition of who is included in each Settlement Class is set forth in each Settlement Agreement between the Settlement Classes and the Settling Defendants. Each of those Settlement Agreements, and the related Complaints are accessible by clicking HERE.
The Settlement Funds total approximately $5.1 million. Detailed information about the respective Settlements and the parts involved can be found in the full-length Notice, which is available by clicking HERE. The amount of money your dealership may receive, if any, will depend upon where the dealership purchased the affected vehicles or component parts, the type and quantity of vehicles and parts your dealership purchased in the states listed above and the District of Colombia, and the total number of claims made by eligible Truck and Equipment Dealers.
What Are My Rights And Options?
Opt Your Dealership Out of the Settlements
If your dealership purchased any of the parts listed in the Settlement Class definitions as components in the specified vehicles or as parts and purchased such vehicles or parts in the states listed in this Notice or the District of Columbia and does not want to be legally bound by the Settlements, your dealership must exclude itself (“opt out”) in a writing postmarked by November 4, 2016, or it will not be able to sue, or continue to sue, the Settling Defendants (including all related entities covered by the release in the individual settlement agreements) about the legal claims settled in the settlement agreements.
If your dealership submits a valid and timely request for exclusion / opt out, it will not share in the proceeds of that Settlement, and it will not be bound by the judgment. To be valid, the request for exclusion / opt out must follow the instructions set forth in the full-length Notice and be postmarked by November 4, 2016. The full instructions and requirements for opting out may be viewed by clicking HERE.
Object to the Settlement
If your dealership wishes to object to one or more of the Settlements or the request for attorneys’ fees, reimbursement of expenses, and service awards, it may write to the Court and counsel about why it objects. To be considered, your dealership’s objection must be filed according to the procedures set forth in the full-length Notice and postmarked no later than November 4, 2016. The full instructions and requirements for objecting to one or more of the Settlements may be viewed by clicking HERE.
Attend the Final Approval Hearing
The Court will hold a Final Approval Hearing at 2:30 p.m. on November 17, 2016, at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse, 231 W. Lafayette Blvd., Courtroom 272, Detroit, MI 48226 to decide whether to approve the Settlements and the request for attorney’s fees, reimbursement of expenses, and service awards. You or your own lawyer may attend and ask the Court’s permission to speak, but you don’t have to participate in the hearing in order to attend. To request to speak at the Final Approval Hearing, you must follow the procedures set forth in the full-length Notice no later than November 4, 2016.
The complete terms, including the definitions of what parties and claims are being released are set forth in the full-length Notice, settlement agreements, and the Court filings which may be obtained by clicking HERE.