The planned meeting between General Motors CEO Mary Barra and Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley has been delayed after GM filed an appeal to overturn a judge’s decision earlier this week.
Judge Paul Borman, who is overseeing GM’s lawsuit against FCA, had ordered Barra to meet with Manley to try and resolve the matter that led to GM filing a lawsuit against its crosstown rival earlier this year. Borman said the court proceeding would be a waste of time and resources for both GM and FCA and believed allowing the case to move through the courts would be detrimental to the companies. Borman also said the two companies must report back to him with their resolution by July 1st.
Shortly after that ruling, GM 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.”
In response to the request, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily delayed the court-ordered meeting between the two rival automakers this week. In a statement, the appeals court said that a “temporary stay,” on the meeting is appropriate ”
in order to provide sufficient time to consider the matters raised in GM’s petition” The Detroit News reports.
In addition to saying Borman had no right to order the two automakers to engage in settlement discussions, GM also said the court “has no business labeling a properly filed federal lawsuit assigned to the court for impartial adjudication `a distraction’ or a `nuclear option,” as Borman did.
GM filed a lawsuit against FCA late last year under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act accusing the automaker of corrupting the bargaining process with the UAW in order to get a better labor deal than GM. It also said FCA did this with the specific intent of weakening GM’s business in order to force a merger between the two companies. Former FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne, who passed away in 2018, had been outspoken about his desire to merge FCA with GM or another major automaker.
FCA, for its part, said this week that “parties are not permitted to engage in such judge shopping,” as GM has in requesting Borman be removed from the case. GM said this week that it will “look forward to the 6th Circuit’s review and decision,” with regard to replacing Borman and overturning his decision.