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From Antitrust Law Daily, November 20, 2018

Preliminary approvals given to two settlements in auto parts litigation

By J. Preston Carter, J.D., LL.M.

Two settlement agreements resolving auto dealers’ antitrust actions against certain makers of auto parts have received preliminary approval from the federal district court in Detroit. The groups of defending automotive parts manufacturers are makers of shock absorbers, fuel injection systems, and steel tubes (In re: Automotive Parts Antitrust Litigation, November 15, 2018, Battani, M.).

One proposed settlement involves defendants KYB Corporation and Kayaba Americas Corporation and provisional certification of a settlement class that, from January 1, 1995, through the execution date, purchased shock absorbers as a component part or replacement part, which were manufactured or sold by the defendants. The settlement agreement calls for the settlement amount to be $28,880,000.

The other proposed settlement involves defendants Maruyasu Industries, Co., Ltd., and Curtis-Maruyasu America, Inc., and provisional certification of two settlement classes. One class involves persons that, from January 1, 2000, through the execution date, bought fuel injection systems as a component part or replacement part, which were manufactured or sold by the defendants. The other class involves persons that, from December 1, 2003, through the execution date, bought steel tubes as a component part or replacement part, which were manufactured or sold by the defendants. The settlement agreement calls for the settlement amount to be $5,320,000.

The court agreed to provisionally certify the proposed classes in light of the proposed settlement, because (1) the settlement classes are so numerous that joinder is impracticable; (2) the dealership plaintiffs’ claims present common issues and are typical of the settlement classes; (3) the dealership plaintiffs and settlement class counsel will fairly and adequately represent the settlement classes; and (4) common issues predominate over any individual issues affecting the members of the settlement classes. The court further found that the dealership plaintiffs’ interests are aligned with the interests of all other members of the settlement classes. Settlement of this action on a class basis superior to other means of resolving the matter, the court said.

In granting preliminary approval to the settlement, the court held that it was entered into at arm’s length by experienced counsel and is sufficiently within the range of reasonableness that notice of the settlement agreement should be given, pursuant to a plan to be submitted by settlement classes counsel and approved by the court at a later date.

The cases are Nos. 2:15-cv-03303-MOB-MKM and 2:13-cv-02203-MOB.

Attorneys: Bernard Persky (Robins Kaplan LLP) for Ifeoma Adams. Christopher M. Curran (White & Case LLP) for Maruyasu Industries Co., Ltd. Alden Lewis Atkins (Vinson & Elkins LLP) for Hitachi Automotive Systems, Ltd. and Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas, Inc. Brian C. Smith (Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Door LLP) for Denso Corp. Bradley Robert Love (Barnes & Thornburg, LLP) and Cale A. Johnson (Dykema Gossett PLLC) for Kayaba Industry Co., Ltd. d/b/a KYB Corp. and KYB Americas Corp.

Companies: Maruyasu Industries Co., Ltd.; Hitachi Automotive Systems, Ltd.; Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas, Inc.; Denso Corp.; Kayaba Industry Co., Ltd. d/b/a KYB Corp.; KYB Americas Corp.; Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas, Inc.

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