Fiat Chrysler sues shippers for alleged cost fixing

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA)

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has filed a complaint with a U.S. regulator looking for “reparations” from a group of shipping business from Asia, Europe and South America that admitted to fixing prices for shipping cars, inning accordance with files made public on Monday.

The automaker wants the Federal Maritime Commission to order payments from Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics AS and its EUKOR Car Carriers Inc, Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Compania Sud Americana de Vapores, Hoegh Autoliners AS and associated companies. Fiat Chrysler submitted its complaint on October 17.

The automaker stated it and its corporate predecessors have bought “hundreds of millions of dollars” in delivery services and none of the companies have compensated it or other victims “of their illegal activities.”

All but one of the shippers sued by Fiat Chrysler pleaded guilty and confessed to price fixing as part of a Justice Department investigation. The remaining firm, Hoegh, concurred last month to plead guilty and pay a $21 million criminal fine. To this day, 4 shipping executives have likewise pleaded guilty in the government’s probe, which started in 2012.

Fiat Chrysler stated the companies and “unnamed conspirators have conspired since 1997 to reduce competition” in shipping cargo. The automaker stated they participated in contracts that resulted in Fiat Chrysler “paying far more” than if there were a competitive market and that the shipping companies made prohibited agreements to “assign clients and routes, rig bids, and fix, stablize, and maintain” prices.

The companies failed to reveal these agreements to the Maritime Commission as a 1984 law needs, FCA stated. Other companies, including auto and truck dealers, took legal action against shippers in 2016 prior to the Maritime Commission however those cases are likewise pending.

A number of lawsuits, consisting of those from General Motors, were submitted under a different legal theory in federal courts beginning in 2013. However a federal appeals court ruled in January that the shippers were immune from antitrust lawsuits according to the 1984 law. The Supreme Court refused to hear the case previously this month.

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