Judge refuses to reconsider GM lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler

DETROIT (AP) – A federal judge in Detroit said on Friday that he will not reconsider his July dismissal of General Motors’ (GM’s) racketeering lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). US Judge Paul Borman wrote in an opinion that new evidence presented by GM regarding bribes and foreign bank accounts “is too speculative to warrant re-opening” the case.

Borman also ruled that the earlier dismissal of the case was not done in legal error.

GM alleged that FCA used foreign bank accounts to pay bribes to former United Auto Workers (UAW) Presidents Dennis Williams and Ron Gettelfinger, as well as Vice President Joe Ashton. It also alleges that money was paid to GM employees including Al Iacobelli, a former FCA labour negotiator who was hired and later released by GM.

GM said the payments were made so the officials would saddle GM with more than USD1 billion in additional labour costs.

“Even if the affidavits establish that these foreign bank accounts exist, that fact does not rise to the inference advanced by GM, that FCA was more-than-likely using the bank accounts to bribe UAW officials,” Borman’s order stated.

GM said on Friday that it would appeal Borman’s ruling to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. “Today’s decision is disappointing, as the corruption in this case is proven given the many guilty pleas from the on-going federal investigation,” GM said in a statement.
“GM’s suit will continue – we will not accept corruption.”

FCA lawyers wrote in court documents that allegations it bribed union officials are “preposterous” and read like a script from a “third-rate spy movie”.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles world headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan. PHOTO: AP