On May 27, 2014, the attorneys of Japanese auto part companies filed a motion in a federal court in Michigan, indicating they will appeal to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals a ruling made by U.S. District Judge Marianne Battani that established a premise that an industry-wide cartel conspiracies existed among Japanese auto part makers.
A flurry of cases have been filed against most Japanese auto part companies, including companies previously uninvolved in cartel allegations, after Judge Battani’s ruling.
The mood in the plaintiff camp is bullish despite the appeal and attempts by the defendant side to block plaintiff’s motions to better coordinate the various civil suits. In particular, the plaintiff’s attorneys pointed out that many defendants have already made guilty pleas, making it more difficult for defendants to convince an appellate court to dismiss the case. Others noted that “courts try not to dismiss anything at this early stage unless there’s really nothing there.”
The appeal may, however, delay any settlement by the defendants with the plaintiffs. The defendants may wait until the appeals court issues its decision in the hopes that it will be favorable to the defendants’ case, rather than offering payouts to the plaintiffs right away, even though some noted that there is only a “slim chance” that the appellate court will agree with the defendants.