DETROIT (Legal Newsline) – A Michigan magistrate is still considering alleged antitrust allegations in one of the largest litigation lawsuits in the U.S.
Judge Marianne O. Battani is mulling whether to dismiss a lawsuit charging that Bridgestone Tire and others violated consumer trust regarding anti-vibration rubber parts (AVRPs), a complaint first filed by plaintiffs Jerry Anderson Sr., Laura LaRue and Christopher Lee that was followed by 39 separate groups of class actions involving up to 60 separate groups of defendants.
The defendants filed a motion to dismiss in April.
The huge lawsuit, which has had a three-year discovery period, has been broken down to into settlement rounds; however Bridgestone refuses to settle and seeks a trial, noting under Article III, the plaintiffs cannot depend on a “speculative chain of possibilities” between their alleged damages and the defendants unproven anti-competitive conduct to establish standing, an April motion to dismiss states.
“Plaintiffs fail to show they purchased AVRPs made by defendants – indeed, defendants don’t even sell AVRPs to individual consumers,” according to the defendants' motion to dismiss. “Plaintiffs have also failed to demonstrate antitrust standing because they admit they did not purchase AVRPs directly from defendants.”
The motion to dismiss states that the plaintiffs' baseless claims are a “blatant tactic” to draw the statute of limitations.
“This complaint was filed one day before the four-year limitation period expired, using placeholder plaintiffs who plainly lack both constitutional standing and antitrust standing,” according to the motion to dismiss.
Furthermore, “only one defendant is in any way connected to a retail entity that could have sold to plaintiffs: Bridgestone Corp. is the indirect owner, through several levels of corporate ownership, of certain Firestone repair shops that sell auto parts to individual consumers,” according to the motion to dismiss.
“At bottom, plaintiffs’ use of such a facially unworkable class definition and proposed class exposes this complaint for what it is: nothing more than a tolling tactic until they can find better representatives – something they have failed to do for three years and 364 days,” according to the motion to dismiss.
In January, Legal Newsline reported on the lawsuit that charged defendants Bridgestone and other tire companies sold inflated rubber parts in an anti-competitive price war with Yamashita Rubber Co., Yusa Corp., Sumitomo Riko Co., DTR Industries, and Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. and Toyo’s USA affiliates.