By Ben Klayman
DETROIT (Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court on Monday stayed a lower court’s order requiring officials from General Motors Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to resolve GM’s racketeering lawsuit.
“In order to provide sufficient time to consider the matters raised in GM’s petition, and having considered the relevant factors, we conclude that a temporary stay is appropriate,” the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals said in a court filing.
GM said in a statement that it looked forward to the appeals court’s review and decision. Officials with FCA were not immediately available to comment.
On Friday, GM asked a U.S. appeals court to allow it to continue pursuing its civil racketeering lawsuit against FCA, rejecting U.S. District Court Judge Paul Borman’s belittling of the complaint. The No. 1 U.S. automaker called Borman’s order “unprecedented” and “a profound abuse” of judicial power.
GM’s appeal came less than a week after Borman called its lawsuit a “waste of time and resources” at a time when both automakers should be focused on surviving the coronavirus pandemic.
Borman ordered GM Chief Executive Mary Barra and FCA CEO Mike Manley to meet by July 1 to negotiate a resolution, and later amended his order to allow other officials in their place. On Monday, Borman said in an order that the July 1 call would simply entail the executives answering “yes” or “no” on whether the case had been resolved.
GM sued FCA last year, accusing the Italian-American company’s executives of bribing United Auto Workers union officials to secure labor agreements that put GM at a disadvantage. FCA is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department as part of a wide-ranging probe of UAW corruption.
GM’s accusations came as FCA and French automaker Peugeot SA were in the early stages of preparing for a merger. FCA has said the suit was aimed at disrupting that deal. GM has said the suit has nothing to do with the merger.
(Reporting by Ben Klayman, Editing by Franklin Paul and Aurora Ellis)