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In re Auto. Parts Antitrust Litig.

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division

September 25, 2014, Decided; September 25, 2014, Filed

MASTER FILE NO. 12-md-02311; 2:12-cv-00502; 2:12-cv-00503

Opinion

 [*844]  OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS' COLLECTIVE MOTION TO DISMISS INDIRECT PURCHASER ACTIONS

Before the Court is Defendants' Collective Motion to Dismiss End-Payor Plaintiffs' Consolidated Amended Class Action Complaint (Doc. No. 73 in 12-503), and Automobile Dealer Plaintiffs' Consolidated Class Complaint (Doc. No. 82 in 12-502). Defendant movants include JTEKT Corporation, JTEKT North America Corporation, Nachi-Fujikoshi Corporation, Nachi America Inc., NTN Corporation, NTN USA Corporation, NSK Ltd., NSK Americas, Inc., Schaeffler AG, Schaeffler Group USA Inc., and AB SKF. SKF USA, Inc. joined the motion.

On August 21, 2013, Automobile Dealer Purchaser Plaintiffs filed their Consolidated Class Action Complaint, (Doc. No. 67 in 12-502), and on October 23, 2013, End-Payor Plaintiffs filed their Corrected Consolidated Amended Class Action Complaint (Doc. No. 70 in 12-503). In their motion, Defendants challenge the sufficiency of the allegations of conspiracy to fix prices on Bearing products filed by two different groups of plaintiffs—automobile dealers and end-payors.

I. INTRODUCTION

Automobile Dealer Plaintiffs and End-Payor Plaintiffs (collectively [**180]  "Indirect Purchaser Plaintiffs" or "IPPs") bring class actions against Defendants under federal and state law based on Defendants' alleged conspiracy to fix prices and allocate the market for automotive Bearings. Defendants manufacturer or sell Bearings in the United States. The Automobile Dealer Plaintiffs ("ADPs"), including Martens Cars of Washington, Inc., Landers Auto Group No. 1, Inc. d/b/a Landers Toyota, Hammett Motor Company, Inc., Superstore Automotive, Inc., Lee Pontiac-Oldsmobile-GMC Truck, Inc., Westfield Dodge City, Inc., V.I.P. Motor Cars Ltd., Desert European Motorcars, Ltd., Landers McLarty Fayetteville TN, LLC, Dale Martens Nissan Subaru, Inc., Green Team of Clay Center Inc., McGrath Automotive Group, Inc., Table Rock Automotive, Inc. d/b/a Todd Archer Hyundai, Archer-Perdue, Inc. d/b/a Archer-Perdue Suzuki, Landers McLarty Lee's Summit, Mo. LLC d/b/a Lee's Summit Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, and d/b/a Lee's Summit Nissan, Bonneville and Son, Inc., Holzhauer Auto and Truck Sales, Inc., Pitre, Inc. d/b/a Pitre Buick GMC, Patsy Lou Chevrolet, Inc., John Greene Chrysler Dodge Jeep, LLC, SLT Group II, Inc. d/b/a Planet Nissan Subaru of Flagstaff, Herb Hallman Chevrolet, Inc. [**181]  d/b/a Champion Chevrolet, Charles Daher's Commonwealth Motors, Inc. d/b/a Commonwealth Chevrolet, Commonwealth Kia, Commonwealth Honda, Commonwealth Nissan, Inc. d/b/a Commonwealth Nissan, Ramey Motors, Inc., Thornhill Superstore, Inc. d/b/a Thornhill GM Superstore, Dave Heather Corporation d/b/a Lakeland Toyota Honda Mazda Subaru, Central Salt Lake Valley GMC Enterprises, LLC d/b/a Salt Lake Valley Buick GMC, Capitol Chevrolet Cadillac, Inc., Capitol Dealerships, Inc. d/b/a Capitol Toyota, Beck Motors, Inc., Stranger Investments d/b/a Stephen Wade Toyota, John O' Neil Johnson Toyota, LLC, Hartley Buick GMC Truck, Inc., Lee Oldsmobile-Cadillac, Inc. d/b/a Lee Honda, Lee Auto Malls-Topsham, Inc. d/b/a Lee Toyota of Topsham, Landers of Hazelwood, LLC d/b/a Landers Toyota of Hazelwood, Cannon Chevrolet-Oldsmobile-Cadillac-Nissan, Inc., Cannon Nissan of Jackson, LLC, Hudson Charleston Acquisition,  [*845]  LLC d/b/a Hudson Nissan, Shearer Automotive Enterprises III, Inc., and Apex Motor Corporation "filed their Consolidated Class Complaint on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated." (Doc. No. 67 in 12-502). In their proposed class action, Automobile Dealer Plaintiffs allege that [**182]  "manufacturers and suppliers of automotive bearings, globally and in the United States" engaged in "a lengthy conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition in the bearings industry by agreeing to fix, stabilize, and maintain the prices of these products. . . ." (Doc. No. 67 in 12-502, Ex. 1 ¶ 1).

In their Corrected Consolidated Amended Class Action Complaint (Doc. No. 70 in 12-503), End-Payor Plaintiffs ("EPPs") Rebecca Lynn Morrow, Erica J. Shoaf, Tom Halverson, Sophie O'Keefe-Zelman, Stephanie Petras, Melissa Barron, John W. Hollingsworth, Meetesh Shah, Michael J. Tracy, Jane Taylor, Keith Uehara, Jennifer Chase, Darrel Senior, James E. Marean, Ron Blau, Roger D. Olson, Nilsa Mercado, Darcy c. Sherman, David Bernstein, Ellis Winston McInnis, IV, Thomas N. Wilson, Lauren C. Primos, Robert P. Klingler, Jessica DeCastro, Lori Curtis, Virginia Pueringer, Nathan Croom, Richard Stoehr, Edward T. Muscara, Michael Wick, Tenisha Burgos, Jason Grala, Kathleen A. Tawney, Kelly Klosterman, Kent Busek, Cindy Prince, Paul Gustafson, France H. Gammell-Roach, William Dale Picotte, Phillip G. Young, Jesse Powell, Alena Farrell, Jane FitzGerald, Arthur Stukey, Hanne Rice, Robert M. Rice, Jr., Stacey [**183]  R. Nickell, and Carol Ann Kashishian, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, "bring a class action against Defendants, suppliers of Automotive Bearings. . .globally and in the United States, for engaging in a massive conspiracy to unlawfully fix and artificially raise the prices" of Bearings." (Doc. No. 70 in 12-503 at ¶ 1).

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50 F. Supp. 3d 836 *; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136404 **

IN RE: AUTOMOTIVE PARTS ANTITRUST LITIGATION. In Re: Bearings. THIS DOCUMENT RELATES TO: Dealership Actions, End-Payor Actions

Subsequent History: Motion denied by In re Auto. Parts Antitrust Litig., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15070 ( E.D. Mich., Feb. 9, 2015)

Motion denied by In re Auto. Parts Antitrust Litig., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25704 ( E.D. Mich., Feb. 26, 2015)

Prior History: In re Auto. Parts Antitrust Litig., 50 F. Supp. 3d 869, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136403 ( E.D. Mich., 2014)

CORE TERMS

enrichment, unjust, antitrust, conspiracy, indirect, price-fixing, consumer, commerce, automotive, inflated, chain, artificially, Unfair, manufacturer, Dealer, overcharges, intrastate, nexus, concealment, traceable, subcontractor, restrained, End-Payor, deceptive, conspiratorial, indirectly, bargained, conducive, customers, conspire