Foam lawsuits gain powerful ally in GM

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

General Motors joins furniture manufacturers and others seeking damages for what they claim is a long-running foam price-fixing conspiracy.
GM filed its 62-page complaint in eastern Michigan’s federal court and asked for a jury trial.
Many of GM’s lawsuit defendants are the same as for a series of complaints filed earlier this year by Northeast Mississippi furniture manufacturers.
These and other similar lawsuits were transferred to be handled before a multi-district federal court in northern Ohio.
From at least January 1999, GM claims, the defendants and others conspired to fix, raise and maintain prices for polyurethane foam in the U.S. and elsewhere in North America.
GM also claims it purchased “billions of dollars” of auto seat systems, seat covers, headliners etc. containing this foam.
It asks for damages, including three times damages, its costs and attorneys’ fees and other costs under Michigan’s Antitrust Reform Act, as well as the federal Sherman Act and the Clayton Act. It also wants the court to stop any other such behavior.
GM filed its lawsuit in Michigan, where it has its headquarters.
The international corporation said it did not discover the alleged conspiracy until 2010 with disclosure of raids on some defendants’ facilities by U.S., Canadian and European authorities.
patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com