Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, left, and Mike Manley, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (Photo: Kathleen Galligan, Eric Seals, Detroit Free Press)

A federal judge will now have Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, and Mike Manley, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, present attorneys at a meeting ordered by the judge to resolve GM’s lawsuit against FCA.

District Court judge Paul Borman changed his order on Saturday so that the two CEOs – Barra is also the chairman of GM – could have lawyers with him both at the private face-to-face meeting he requested and at a video conference, to inform the judge of their information progress to be done by Wednesday. Borman found that the judicial provisions “prohibit declarations during the compromise negotiations”.

The judge’s amended order followed a GM petition on Friday at the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals requesting that the case be reassigned. The automaker argued that given the comments in its original order, there would be no fair hearing before the judge, that the case was a “waste of time and resources” given the challenges facing the country with racism and COVID-19.

In the lawsuit filed in November, GM claims that the FCA cost billions of dollars by corrupting the contract negotiation process with the UAW to force a merger between the two companies, an ultimately unsuccessful goal of the late Sergio Marchionne, former CEO of the FCA who plays a prominent role in GM’s lawsuit. The FCA, working towards a merger with Peugeot manufacturer PSA Group to create the fourth largest automaker in the world, said it would “continue to vigorously defend itself and pursue all available remedies in response to GM’s unfounded lawsuit.”

The lawsuit is linked to the UAW’s long-standing corruption scandal in which 14 former union and FCA officials were convicted. Ex-UAW President Ashamed, Gary Jones will be convicted later this year. The corruption case, which has an impact on the future of the 400,000-strong union, included widespread examples of proprietary business, including bribery, setbacks, and lack of funds for golf, fancy dinners, and even jewel-encrusted pens. The UAW that announced A number of reforms in the light of the scandal are not accused in the case of GM, but Alphons Iacobelli, the former negotiator for FCA, and two other former FCA officials are alongside FCA.

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GM, despite spokesman Jim Cain, made a new statement on Saturday, on the order of the judge:

“Our petition identifies a number of issues that are very important to us when we try to hold the FCA and others accountable for their crimes and direct harm to GM.”

FCA spokeswoman Shawn Morgan referred a reporter to the company’s earlier statements that GM’s lawsuit was unfounded.

Contact Eric D. Lawrence: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @_ericdlawrence.

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