General Motors Co. appears to have won a small victory in its legal battle with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. as the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals accepted GM’s petition to set aside a judge’s order mandating GM CEO Mary Barra and FCA CEO Mike Manley meet face and settle the dispute.
The case now returns to the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Paul Borman, who in his earlier order described the GM’s lawsuit as a “waste of time.”
GM sued FCA in November by GM, which has alleged in its court filings that it was damaged by FCA’s corruption of a complaint United Auto Workers in a conspiracy that placed GM at a competitive disadvantage.
FCA said the ruling by the Sixth Circuit will prolong the unnecessary litigation. “As we have said from the date this lawsuit was filed, it is meritless and FCA will continue to defend itself vigorously and pursue all available remedies in response to this groundless lawsuit,” FCA said in a statement issued after the ruling was made public.
GM, however, said it expected to press forward and made no mention of possible settlement talks.
“We are grateful that the Sixth Circuit quickly reviewed and granted our mandamus petition. This is an important case because former FCA executives have already admitted they conspired to use bribes to gain labor benefits, concessions and advantages. As the facts will show, their corruption caused direct harm to GM and we have a responsibility to our stakeholders seek justice and hold FCA accountable,” GM spokesman James Cain said in an emailed statement.
FCA is now expected to renew its efforts to have Borman dismiss the case. It already has filed briefs supporting its claim that the case should be dismissed.
GM, however, is expected to ask Borman to allow the case to proceed to discovery, which would give GM’s lawyers an opportunity to subpoena FCA records and documents.
However, whichever ways Judge Borman eventually rules, the losing side is bound to file another appeal with the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, asking the ruling be set aside the decision, insuring that the case will take months if not years to complete.
Borman, as he indicated in his original order, appears inclined to pressure to settle the matter out of court.