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Consumers who Purchased Heater Control Panels in the United States Directly from Sumitomo, Alps, Tokai Rika or Denso from January 1, 2000 through March 23, 2017, may have their Legal Rights Affected by Proposed Settlements with the Defendants

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Consumers who Purchased Heater Control Panels in the United States Directly from Sumitomo, Alps, Tokai Rika or Denso from January 1, 2000 through March 23, 2017, may have their Legal Rights Affected by Proposed Settlements with the Defendants

PR Newswire

DETROIT, Aug. 27, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Proposed settlements totaling approximately $5.7 million have been reached in In re Automotive Parts Antitrust Litigation, Master File No.12-md-02311, 2:12-cv-00401, 2:17-cv-11109 (E.D. Mich.), with the Sumitomo, Alps and Tokai Rika Defendants (collectively, the "Settling Defendants"). 

What is the lawsuit about?   This class action is part of coordinated legal proceedings involving Heater Control Panels purchased in the United States directly from a Defendant (as defined below).  These proceedings do not relate to, and have no effect upon, cases involving any other product.

"Heater Control Panels," for purposes of the settlements, are the operational panels with buttons and switches controlling the climate of the interior environment of the vehicle and are typically located in the center of a motor vehicle.

Direct Purchaser Plaintiff alleges that Defendants entered into a conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition for Heater Control Panels by agreeing to fix, maintain, or stabilize prices, rig bids, and allocate the supply of Heater Control Panels, in violation of federal antitrust laws.  Plaintiff further alleges that as a result of the conspiracy, they and other direct purchasers of Heater Control Panels were injured by paying more for those products than they should have paid, and seek recovery of treble damages, together with reimbursement of costs and an award of attorneys' fees.  Defendants deny Direct Purchaser Plaintiff's allegations.

Plaintiff has reached settlements with the Sumitomo Defendants, the Alps Defendants and the Tokai Rika Defendants totaling $5,704,000.  Under the terms of the proposed settlements, Sumitomo will pay a total of $579,000 (the "Sumitomo Settlement Fund"), Alps will pay a total of $3,250,000 (the "Alps Settlement Fund"), and Tokai Rika will pay a total of $1,875,000 (the "Tokai Rika Settlement Fund") (the three settlement funds are collectively referred to as the "HCP Settlement Fund"), and all of the Settling Defendants will provide cooperation to assist Plaintiffs in the prosecution of the claims against the remaining Defendants.

Who is included?  The Court has preliminarily approved, and has provisionally certified the Sumitomo, Alps and Tokai Rika Settlement Classes.  Included as members of one or more of these Settlement Classes is anyone who purchased Heater Control Panels in the United States directly from any of the following Defendants during the period from January 1, 2000 through March 23, 2017: Alps Electric Co., Ltd.; Alps Electric (North America) Inc.; Alps Automotive Inc.; Denso Corporation; Denso International America, Inc.; Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd.; Sumitomo Wiring Systems, Ltd.; Sumitomo Electric Wiring Systems, Inc.; Tokai Rika Co., Ltd.; and TRAM, Inc.

A Notice of Proposed Settlement and Claim Form (the "Notice") was mailed to potential Sumitomo, Alps and Tokai Rika Settlement Class members on or about August 16, 2018.  The Notice describes the litigation and options available to Settlement Class members with respect to the Sumitomo, Alps and Tokai Rika settlements in more detail.  Anyone who did not receive the Notice may obtain a copy on the internet at www.AutoPartsAntitrustLitigation.com, or by calling or writing to any of the following Settlement Class Counsel: 

Gregory P. Hansel

Joseph C. Kohn


PRETI, FLAHERTY, BELIVEAU &

KOHN, SWIFT & GRAF, P.C.


PACHIOS LLP

1600 Market Street, Suite 2500


One City Center, P.O. Box 9546

Philadelphia, PA  19103


Portland, ME  04112-9546

Telephone: (215) 238-1700


Telephone: (207) 791-3000



Steven A. Kanner

Eugene A. Spector


FREED KANNER LONDON & MILLEN LLC

SPECTOR ROSEMAN & KODROFF, P.C.


2201 Waukegan Road, Suite 130

1818 Market Street, Suite 2500


Bannockburn, IL  60015

Philadelphia, PA  19103


Telephone: (224) 632-4500

Telephone: (215) 496-0300


What does the settlement provide?  Sumitomo, Alps and Tokai Rika have agreed to pay a total of $5,704,000 (the "HCP Settlement Fund") to settle the Class Members' claims against them.  As described in more detail in the Notice, the Alps and Tokai Rika settlements are subject to reduction in the event of valid requests for exclusion by Settlement Class members.  As part of the settlements all of the Settling Defendants have agreed to provide cooperation in the prosecution of claims against the remaining Defendants.

Rights of Class members may be affected.  Anyone who is a member of the Sumitomo, Alps or Tokai Rika Settlement Classes (defined above) will automatically remain a member of those Settlement Classes unless they elect to be excluded.  Class members who wish to remain in a Settlement Class do not need to take any action at this time and their interests will be represented by the Class Representatives and by Settlement Class Counsel.  In order to share in the proceeds of any of the Sumitomo, Alps or Tokai Rika settlements, however, individuals must complete and timely return a copy of the Claim Form that was recently mailed to potential Settlement Class members along with the Notice.  Any Claim Form submitted electronically must be submitted on or before November 21, 2018.  Any Claim Form submitted via mail must be postmarked on or before November 21, 2018. 

Class members who wish to exclude themselves from any of the Sumitomo, Alps or Tokai Rika Settlement Classes (or all of them) must send a request for exclusion, in writing, by certified mail, return receipt requested, postmarked no later than October 5, 2018, in accordance with the procedures set forth in the Notice.  If Class members validly exclude themselves from any of the Sumitomo, Alps or Tokai Rika Settlement Classes (or all of them), they will not be bound by any decision concerning that settlement class and can pursue individually any claims they may have against that Defendant (at their own expense), but they will not be eligible to share in the settlement proceeds attributable to that Defendant.

Class members who remain a member of the Sumitomo, Alps or Tokai Rika Settlement Class have the right to object to that proposed settlement, or to the proposed plan of distribution of the HCP Settlement Fund, or to Settlement Class Counsel's requests for an award of attorneys' fees and litigation costs and expenses, and incentive payments to the Class Representatives, by following the procedures set forth in the Notice.  Objections must be filed no later than October 5, 2018.

The Court has scheduled a hearing on November 8, 2018, to consider whether to approve: the proposed settlements; the proposed plan of distribution of settlement funds; and Settlement Class Counsel's requests for an award of attorneys' fees and litigation costs and expenses, and incentive payments to the Class Representatives.  The hearing may be continued without further notice to Class members.

Class members who believe they are a member of any of the Sumitomo, Alps or Tokai Rika Settlement Classes are urged to obtain a copy of the Notice, which explains their rights regarding the settlements and related matters.

For any questions concerning this litigation, Class members may contact any one of the Settlement Class Counsel identified above.  Do not contact the Clerk of the Court or the Judge.

Dated: August 27, 2018

BY ORDER OF:



The United States District Court for the Eastern



District of Michigan, Southern Division


 

Cision View original content:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/consumers-who-purchased-heater-control-panels-in-the-united-states-directly-from-sumitomo-alps-tokai-rika-or-denso-from-january-1-2000-through-march-23-2017-may-have-their-legal-rights-affected-by-proposed-settlements-with-th-300702368.html

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

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