GM seeks removal of RICO trial judge from Fiat Chrysler

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Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors Co. (GM), left, and Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, center, listen during a press conference outside the White House after a meeting with the US President Donald Trump, not pictured, in Washington, DCAndrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

General Motors is seeking to remove a judge who called his racketeering lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler a “waste of time” and to quash an order earlier this week calling on company CEOs to meet independently to resolve their issues.Detroit automaker on Friday afternoon filed a motion with the 6th U.S. Court of Appeal to grant a mandamus, setting aside Tuesday’s order from U.S. District Court judge Paul Borman , asking the parties to meet before July 1 and reassign the case to pre-trial detention.

“Our commitment to justice includes the responsibility to report corruption in our industry when we find out about it and to seek damages when we are targeted and directly harmed,” GM said in an emailed statement. “Failure to prosecute rewards criminals at the expense of honest and hardworking people. ”

The automaker also rejected “the idea that seeking justice for direct damage to GMOs is a” waste of time “, a” distraction “or a” diversion “” of more pressing and broader problems such as the pandemic of coronavirus and racial injustice following the death of George Floyd. All were points used by Borman in a Tuesday hearing that included Fiat Chrysler asking the judge to dismiss the GM trial.

“General Motors has played a vital role in helping the country fight the COVID-19 pandemic, promote diversity and inclusion, and foster prosperity through well-paying jobs,” the company said. communicated. “Nothing, including the RICO lawsuit we have brought against the FCA and three convicted former CFA leaders, has or will distract GM and its management team from” fully providing their vision and leadership “on these critical issues , now and in the future. ”

Fiat Chrysler, in an emailed statement Tuesday, endorsed “Borman’s observation that these are extraordinary times for our country, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the tragic death of George Floyd and the spotlight she devoted to racism and social justice. . ”

Fiat Chrysler released the following statement on the GM file Friday afternoon:

“As we have said from the date on which this lawsuit was filed, it is without merit. This will not distract FCA from its mission to provide its customers with exceptional and exciting cars, trucks and SUVs and from the continuous implementation of its long-term strategy to create significant added value for all its stakeholders, in particular the historic merger agreement with the PSA Group to create the world’s third largest automaker in terms of turnover.

The FCA will continue to vigorously defend itself and pursue all available remedies in response to GM’s baseless trial. We are ready to comply with the order of Justice Borman. ”

GM filed a racketeering complaint in November, alleging that the company had been harmed as a result of “corrupt” collective bargaining involving Fiat Chrysler executives bribing union leaders to adopt pro-business positions, which resulted in unfair labor costs. He argued that, although the United Auto Workers union uses “patterned” negotiations, GM has not received the same benefits as the Italian-American automaker.

Gary Jones, the newly elected president of the United Auto Workers (UAW), addresses the 37th UAW Constitutional Convention June 14, 2018 at the Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan.

Bill Pugliano | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Much of the trial involves the late Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, who died unexpectedly in 2018 and was involved in a federal investigation into the bribes and corruption of the union.

The US Department of Justice’s case is underway, but federal prosecutors said in May that GM was not currently the target of the multi-year investigation.

GM is seeking unspecified damages in the billions that, according to the lawsuit, “will be used to invest in the United States to create jobs and benefit employees.” ”

The federal investigation resulted in 14 convictions, including former UAW president Gary Jones and 10 other union-affiliated officials, as well as three former Fiat Chrysler executives.

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