Federal judge orders GM bosses, Fiat Chrysler, to try to settle GM’s organized crime lawsuit

General Motors CEO Mary Barra speaks to the media on June 12, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan.

Bill Pugliano | fake pictures

A federal judge in Detroit on Tuesday ordered the CEOs of automakers General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to meet before July 1 to try to settle GM’s organized crime lawsuit.

United States District Court Judge Paul Borman asked GM CEO Mary Barra and FCA CEO Mike Manley to meet in person to try to settle a case that could drag on for years. .

“What a waste of time and resources now and for years to come in this mega-litigation if these automotive leaders and their large teams of attorneys are forced to focus significant, time-consuming efforts to pursue this demand for nuclear options if it continues,” Borman said. at the end of a hearing during which FCA asked the judge to dismiss GM’s lawsuit.

Instead, Borman said, companies should focus on building cars and keeping people employed at a time when the coronavirus has damaged the US economy. USA And the country is also grappling with issues of racial injustice after the death of George Floyd, a black man whose death in police custody in Minneapolis sparked worldwide protests.

GM filed the extortion suit against FCA last November, alleging that its rival bribed United Auto Workers (UAW) union officials for many years to corrupt the bargaining process and gain advantages, costing GM billions of dollars. GM is seeking “substantial damage” that, according to one analyst, could total at least $ 6 billion.

Barra and Manley should meet, taking into account social distancing to keep them safe, to “explore and indeed come to a sensible resolution,” Borman said in the hearing, which was broadcast online.

It is common for judges to order parties to try to resolve disputes out of court. But it is unusual for CEOs of two large companies to be instructed to meet face-to-face, not only to resolve their differences, but also to serve a greater good.

A GM spokesman said the US No. 1 automaker. USA He has a solid case and “we look forward to a constructive dialogue with FCA consistent with the court order.”

FCA had no immediate comment.

Borman said he wanted to hear from Barra and Manley personally at noon on July 1 to provide him with the results of their discussion.

FCA shares rose 6.1% to $ 10.24 in New York and GM shares fell 0.5% to $ 26.25 on Tuesday afternoon.