Judge Marianne Battani of the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Michigan dismissed indirect purchasers’ antitrust claims brought under the state laws of Massachusetts, Missouri, and Illinois, among others. The court, however, declined to dismiss direct purchasers’ federal antitrust claims accusing defendants of creating a global conspiracy to control pricing and manipulate bidding.
In an independent order, separate from the order dismissing the state claims, the court concluded that the federal antitrust allegations could survive because the direct purchasers had sufficiently informed defendants of the substance of the claims, and that the allegations provide “a reasonable expectation that discovery may reveal further evidence of an illegal agreement.”
The class action complaint was sound, the court concluded, because it sufficiently identifies the products involved and the methods of communication utilized by conspiring competitors during the secret meetings. The court also reasoned that the allegations are consistent with the guilty pleas entered in the DOJ action.
This ruling on the wire harness portion of the MDL is only a fraction of the claims in this massive antitrust action. Similar claims have been brought concerning alleged anticompetitive conduct in the manufacture and sale of other automotive parts, including instrument clusters, fuel senders, heater controls, and alternators.