Robert Bosch GmbH and Robert Bosch LLC have agreed to pay $33.4 million to settle antitrust lawsuits involving four different types of auto parts. Consumers are seeking preliminary approval of the settlement. The settlement would resolve the end-payor Plaintiffs’ claims against Bosch in the massive automotive parts antitrust litigation alleging a conspiracy to fix prices and rig bids for parts, thus improperly inflating their prices.
The parts specifically involved in the Bosch settlement are windshield wiper systems, starters, fuel injection systems and spark plugs. Bosch agreed to keep its offending sales in the case to aid in calculating treble damages against any nonsettling Defendants. The company has also agreed to cooperate with the consumers as they continue to prosecute claims against the remaining Defendants.
The consumers also asked the court to certify four separate settlement classes: one for each of the four auto parts. In each class, the end payors seek to represent anyone who, between Jan. 1, 2000, and the execution of the settlement, bought or leased a new vehicle that had the relevant part, or bought one or more of the parts as a replacement.
Most of the $33.4 million would be allocated to members of the spark plug class, who would receive $29 million. About $2.9 million would go to members of the fuel injector class, $1 million would go to the members of the starters class and about $508,000 would go to members of the windshield wiper class. Those amounts do not include interest. In August, U.S. District Judge Marianne O. Battani, who is overseeing the case, approved a $61.2 million settlement between car dealers and Japanese parts maker Denso Corp.
With the settlement’s final approval, Judge Battani ended a total of 23 actions brought by the dealerships against Denso in the multidistrict litigation (MDL). That settlement involved classes for wire harnesses, instrument panel clusters, fuel senders, heater control panels, alternators, windshield wiper systems, radiators, starters, ignition coils, motor generators, inverters, air flow meters, fan motors, fuel injection systems, power window motors, automatic transmission fluid warmers, air conditioning systems, windshield washer systems and spark plugs.
The Plaintiffs are represented by Cotchett Pitre & McCarthy LLP, Robins Kaplan LLP, Susman Godfrey LLP and The Miller Law Firm PC. The cases are In re: Windshield Wiper Systems, (case number 2:13-cv-00903); In re: Starters, (case number 2:13-cv-01103); In re: Fuel Injection Systems, (case number 2:13-cv-02203); and In re: Spark Plugs, (case number 2:15-cv-03003), while the MDL is In re: Automotive Parts Antitrust Litigation, (case number 2:12-md-02311), all in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.