California ex rel. Bonta v. KYB Copr.
As part of a large class action, plaintiff state filed suit against manufacturers of automotive shock absorbers, alleging that the defendants, from the mid-1990s through at least 2012, conspired to rig bids for, and to fix stabilize and maintain the price of shock absorbers installed in autos purchased by the plaintiff state. Defendant pled guilty…
California v. Denso, No. 2:19-cv-13566 (E.D. Mich. Dec. 3, 2019)
As part of its ongoing participation in the ongoing Automotive Parts multidistrict litigation, California reached a settlement with Denso to resolve claims that as part of a conspiracy with dozens of auto parts manufactures, competition in the automotive parts market was suppressed and eliminated by illegal bid rigging. The state’s complaint alleged that Denso had…
California v. TRW, No. 2:18-cv-13286 (E.D. Mich.) filed 10/22/18
State alleged, as part of multidistrict litigation of antitrust claims against auto parts manufacturers, that TRW conspired with other parts manufacturers to rig bids for, fix and maintain the price of Occupant Safety Restraing Systems, installed in cars purchased by the state.State alleged violations of Sherman Act sec. 1 and the Cartwright Act (Cal Bus. & Prof. Code sec. 16720) and California’s Unfair Competition Law (Cal. Bus. & Prof. Cod sec. 17200). State sought damages and “deadweight loss” (gneeral damage to state) and disgorgement. Settlement was $122,500. TRW agreed to cooperate fully with the state in investigating other participants in the conspiracy.
State of California v. T.Rad Co. Ltd., No. 2:16-cv-13199 (E.D. Mich. Sept. 6, 2016)
California filed a complaint and settled with T.Rad Co, a maker of automobile radiators and automatic transmission fluid warmers, alleging that the company rigged bids and fixed the prices of its parts from at least 2002 to 2010. California received $162,500 in damages and attorneys fees and Florida received $81,250.T.RAD agreed to cooperate with the states by providing documents and information related to the investigations into the price fixing conspiracy.
California v. Panasonic Corporation, No. 2:16-cv-14117 (E.D. Mich. Nov. 21, 2016)
California sued Panasonic Corp. and its U.S. arm in Michigan federal court, alleging that the electronics company conspired to fix prices of switches and other car parts. The state alleged that from at least July 1998 to February 2010, the electronics company conspired with other companies to fix prices for various switches in vehicles, high-intensity-discharge lamp ballasts and steering angle censors, resulting in increased costs for state agencies purchasing cars and parts, along with increased costs for the stateï¿½s consumers. The complaint charged the companies with violations of both federal and California antitrust laws, unfair competition and unjust enrichment, and alleged that the deadweight losses to the economy of the state, including reduced output, higher prices and reduction in consumer welfare. The complaint was filed to effectuate a settlement between California and Florida and Panasonic that had been reached in 2015. California received $350,000 and Florida received $187,500 and Panasonic provided the states with all documents and information from the investigations by USDOJ, the EU and Japan and documents provided to class counsel in the multidistrict litigation.
Florida v. NSK Ltd.
State alleged price-fixing in the market for automotive ball bearings, including bearings used throughout the automobile, from 2000 to the present. The defendants control 75 percent of the market, and entry is not easy. Several of the defendants entered guilty pleas to criminal charges brought by USDOJ.
Florida v. Champion Laboratories, No. 1:09-cv-02321 (N.D. Ill. 2009)
State filed against nine manufacturers of aftermarket auto filters, alleging a scheme to illegally fix prices, allocate customers and eliminate price competition since at least 1999. The suit alleges that high-level filter company executives conspired to maintain artificially high prices for
their companiesï¿½ filters by agreeing among themselves to fix, increase, maintain and/or stabilize the prices of filters sold in the United States, in violation of state and federal antitrust laws and state consumer protection laws. The executives allegedly communicated about prices and even met with each other on numerous occasions, including at filter industry trade association meetings, to fix the prices and allocate customers and markets. The lawsuit further alleges the defendant companies used misleading information in letters seeking to justify their price increases. The suit seeks treble damages, injunctive relief and attorneysï¿½ fees and costs as well as civil penalties of up to $1 million per violation against each defendant. Private litigation is pending, USDOJ investigated but did not pursue case.