A federal court in New Jersey has ruled that a lawsuit that accuses Mercedes-Benz and its New York area dealers of engaging in a conspiracy to fix the price of new Mercedes-Benz automobiles may proceed as a class action on behalf of all purchasers of such vehicles in the New York region from 1991 through 1999. The lawsuit is based in part on the allegations made by one of the dealers in a countersuit against Mercedes. The class action lawsuit on behalf of purchasers or lessees of new vehicles was filed in 1999. In 2002 Mercedes revealed in its SEC filings that a grand jury had been empanelled to hear evidence relating to the allegations.
On November 8, 2007, the Court granted preliminary approval of a settlement with Mercedes-Benz U.S.A ("MBUSA") and Mercedes-Benz Manhattan, Inc. ("MBM") for $9.5 million, bringing the total settlements in the case to approximately $17.5 million, or approximately 50% of what Plaintiffs' expert economist calculated as actual damages for the Class.
On April 18, 2008, U.S. Senior District Judge William H. Walls granted final approval of the settlement.
The Claims Administrator is still processing the proof of claims that have been submitted. Once the total amount has been calculated by the Claims Administrator, Class Counsel will file with the Court a list of the class members who have submitted proof of claims and a Motion Regarding the Distribution of Settlement Funds to Class Members. Claimants must submit a proof of claim in order to receive any proceeds from this settlement and no claimants will be paid until the Motion Regarding the Distribution of Settlement Funds to Class Members is approved by the Court.
Given the number of persons in the Class, it will likely take several months for the Claims Administrator to complete that process. After the Claims Administrator completes that process, the Court then must approve the distribution. Class Counsel appreciates your patience during this process. Please feel free to call us regarding questions you may have (however, we will not be able to tell you how much money you will receive from the settlement).