The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that General Motors CEO Mary Barra will not have to meet with Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley to discuss the automaker’s lawsuit against its Italian-American rival.
GM filed an appeal with the court after the judge presiding over its racketeering lawsuit against FCA, Paul Borman, ordered GM to meet with FCA CEO Mike Manley to discuss the automaker’s lawsuit against it and reach an agreement of some sort. Borman also ordered GM and FCA to report back to him with the results of their meeting before July 1st. The judge expressed a desire to see GM and FCA resolve the lawsuit to avoid a drawn-out court case that could hurt both companies in the end. Borman also said he believed GM’s suit would be a waste of time and resources.
GM then asked a federal appeals court to overturn Borman’s decision and remove him from the case, saying “the court possesses no authority to order the CEOs (of GM and FCA) to engage in settlement discussions, reach a resolution and then appear alone at a pretrial conference eight days later, without counsel.” The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily delayed the court-ordered meeting while it considered GM’s request.
Now the appeals court has sided with GM in the matter, saying “the district judge accordingly failed to provide legally adequate reasons to establish that it was appropriate to order the CEOs personally to meet face-to-face to consider a possible settlement.”
In a statement sent to The Detroit Free Press, GM spokesman Jim Cain said the automaker was grateful for the appeals court’s decision and doubled down on its corruption accusations against FCA.
“This is an important case because former FCA executives have already admitted they conspired to use bribes to gain labor benefits, concessions and advantages,” Cain said. “As the facts will show, their corruption caused direct harm to GM and we have a responsibility to our stakeholders to seek justice and hold FCA accountable.”
While the appeals court agreed to overturn Borman’s order, it will not remove him from the case, as GM had also requested.
GM filed a racketeering lawsuit against FCA late last year, accusing it of corrupting the collective bargaining process with the UAW by offering bribes in exchange for lower labor costs. GM also alleges FCA did this with the specific intent of weakening its business in order to force it to merge with FCA. The Italian-American automaker denies the claims, calling it “meritless” and pledging to “pursue all available remedies,” to absolve it of GM’s accusations.