A lawsuit involving the prices of certain vehicle Occupant Safety Restraint Systems has been settled with certain Defendants in a class action 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 Occupant Safety Restraint Systems as a separate part, which was manufactured or sold by a Defendant or any subsidiary, affiliate, or alleged co-conspirator of a Defendant, and/or purchased new vehicles for resale or lease containing one of 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.
The Settlement may affect your rights. Read on for more information.
What Are The Lawsuits About?
The lawsuit alleges that the Defendants agreed to unlawfully raise the price of certain motor vehicle Occupant Safety Restraint Systems. As a result, dealers of Trucks and/or Equipment who purchased for resale or lease new Trucks and/or Equipment containing those parts or who indirectly purchased those parts as separate parts, which were manufactured or sold by a Defendant or any subsidiary, affiliate, or alleged co-conspirator of a Defendant, allegedly 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 the lawsuit. 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 the Settlement if it is a Truck and/or Equipment Dealer and falls within the definition of the settlement class (“Settlement Classes”) approved by Judge Battani. The class definition is set forth in the full length Notice, which is available at www.TruckDealerSettlement.com. The term “Truck and/or Equipment Dealer” or “Truck and/or 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 the Settlement and their manufacturers can be found at www.TruckDealerSettlement.com.
Who Are The Settling Defendants?
The Settling Defendants are Joseph J. Farnan, Jr., solely as Trustee of the Reorganized TK Holdings Trust (the “Trust”) and TK Holding LLC (“TKH”). A list of the Defendants, their affiliates, and the alleged co-conspirators for the case involving the vehicle Occupant Safety Restraint Systems described in the Settlement Class definition and settlement agreement are available at www.TruckDealerSettlement.com.
What Do The Settlements Provide?
Generally, you are included if, at any time from January 1, 2003 through November 27, 2018, inclusive, you were a dealer of medium-duty (Class 4, 5, 6, & 7) trucks and heavy-duty (Class 8) trucks, buses, commercial vehicles (excluding automobiles, light trucks, vans, sports utility vehicles, and/or similar motor vehicles sold by automobile dealers), construction equipment, mining equipment, agricultural equipment, railway vehicles, and other similar vehicles (“Trucks and/or Equipment”)”) that: (a) purchased for resale or lease new Trucks and/or Equipment containing Occupant Safety Restraint Systems, which was manufactured or sold by a Defendant or any subsidiary, affiliate, or alleged co-conspirator of a Defendant; or (b) indirectly purchased such Occupant Safety Restraint Systems as a separate part. Indirectly means you bought the vehicle part from someone other than the manufacturer of the part.
The specific definition of who is included in the Settlement Class is set forth in the Settlement Agreement between the Plaintiffs and the Settling Defendants. The Settlement Agreement, and the related Complaint, are accessible on the website www.TruckDealerSettlement.com.
The Settlement Funds are a general unsecured, non-priority claim in the amount of $8,000,000 under a Chapter 11 plan of reorganization. Detailed information about the Settlement and the parts involved can be found in the full-length Notice, which is available at www.TruckDealerSettlement.com. The amount of money your dealership may receive, if any, will depend upon where the dealership purchased the affected Trucks and/or Equipment or component parts, the type and quantity of Trucks and/or Equipment and parts your dealership purchased in the states listed above and the District of Columbia, and the total number of claims made by eligible Truck and/or Equipment Dealers.
What Are My Rights And Options?
Opt Your Dealership Out of the Settlements
If your dealership indirectly purchased any of the Occupant Safety Restraint Systems listed in the Settlement Class definitions as components in the specified Trucks and/or Equipment or as parts and purchased for resale or lease such new Trucks and/or Equipment or parts in the states listed in this Notice or the District of Columbia and does not want to be legally bound by the Settlement, your dealership must exclude itself (“opt out”)”) in a writing postmarked by November 26, 2019, or it will not be able to sue, or continue to sue, the Settling Defendants (including all related entities covered by the releases in the Settlement Agreement) about the legal claims settled in the Settlement Agreement.
If your dealership submits a valid and timely request for exclusion / opt out from a Settlement, 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 26, 2019. The full instructions and requirements for opting out may be viewed at 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 www.TruckDealerSettlement.com.
Attend the Final Approval Hearing
The Court will hold a Final Approval Hearing at 1:00 p.m. on March 18, 2020, 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 Settlement and the request for attorney’s fees and reimbursement of expenses. 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 26, 2019.
This notice is a summary only. The complete terms, including the definitions of what parties and claims are being released, are set forth in the full-length Notice, settlement agreement, and the Court filings, which may be obtained at www.TruckDealerSettlement.com.