March 21, 2017

By Eric Kroh

Law360, Fort Wayne (March 21, 2017, 1:37 PM EDT) -- Purchasers of automotive bearings on Monday asked a Michigan federal judge to certify a class of direct buyers accusing six manufacturers of conspiring to cook prices for the products in multidistrict litigation over a wide-ranging auto parts price-fixing conspiracy.

Those who bought bearings directly from JTEKT Corp., Nachi-Fujikoshi Corp., NTN Corp., NSK Ltd., Schaeffler AG and AB SKF from April 2004 through the end of 2015 should constitute a class, the buyers told U.S. District Judge Marianne O. Battani, who is overseeing the MDL. The companies have pled guilty and made other admissions that show they conspired to keep bearings prices at artificially high levels for more than a decade, they said.

“Many governmental actions, not only in the U.S. but also around the world, have been brought against Defendants for violating antitrust and competition laws,” the buyers said.

The proposed class will likely include thousands of members, according to the buyers’ motion. They asked that Freed Kanner London & Millen LLC, Kohn Swift & Graf PC, Preti Flaherty Beliveau & Pachios LLP and Spector Roseman Kodroff & Willis PC be appointed as class counsel.

The MDL, in the Eastern District of Michigan, followed the U.S. Department of Justice’s own ongoing investigation into the auto parts industry that has already yielded more than $2 billion in fines. The MDL has been split into separate proceedings for different automotive parts.

The full article can be read here.