The damages paid by auto suppliers involved in an international price-fixing scheme continue to rise as two more Japanese companies, Fujikura Ltd. and T.Rad Co. Ltd., have agreed to pay a total of more than $14.5 million to the plaintiffs in multi-district litigation against auto parts makers.
So far lawyers for the plaintiffs in the civil suits have now recovered nearly $200 million from the suppliers, most of whom are based in Japan.
The civil litigation is independent of the criminal charges leveled against the suppliers by the U.S. Department of Justice and authorities in Japan and the European Union. Criminal fines and penalties leveled over the cartel-like behavior of the suppliers now total more than $2.5 billion.
Under the civil settlements outlined in recent court filings, T.Rad will pay $7.41 million, and Fujikura will pay $7.14 million. The fines are paid to businesses and consumers who purchased or leased new automobiles.
Total settlements in the end-payor case, where class members include businesses and consumers who purchased or leased new automobiles, have now reached almost $200 million.
Hollis Salzman, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs and co-chair of Robins Kaplan LLP’s Antitrust and Trade Regulation Practice, represents a group of more than 50 individuals who purchased or leased new automobiles containing the auto parts at issue in the litigation.
“We’re pleased that these additional settlements continue to compensate victims of the conspiracy,” said Salzman. “Also, each of the settling defendants has agreed to provide substantial cooperation, which will assist consumers and businesses in their continued litigation against the non-settling defendants.”
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The allegations in the class actions stem from the Department of Justice antitrust investigation that has already resulted in corporate fines of more than $2.5 billion. More than 35 different companies and 55 executives have pleaded or agreed to plead guilty as a result of the Department of Justice’s ongoing investigation into price-fixing and bid-rigging in the auto parts industry.
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Among the supplier that have pleaded guilty to the price-fixing allegations are AutoLiv and Takata, which is the supplier at the center of airbag recalls that have now impacted millions of vehicles around the world.
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Salzman also serves as co-lead counsel in Air Cargo Shipping Services Antitrust Litigation, a private antitrust action against air cargo carriers that has resulted in over $1 billion in settlements to date.
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