A federal district judge in Delaware has given the go-ahead for an anti-trust suit to proceed alleging that major Class 8 truck OEMs conspired to make exclusive arrangements resulting in a monopoly on transmissions for Eaton Corp.
The complaint (Mark S. Wallach v. Eaton Inc.) alleges that OEMs Daimler Trucks North America, Peterbilt Motors Co., Volvo Trucks North America and Mack Trucks Inc. — conspired to eliminate Eaton’s competition, enabling Eaton to maintain a monopoly on transmissions and creating profits in which all the defendants could share.
U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson ruled that there was sufficient evidence to suggest that Eaton gave “rebates” to the OEMs in exchange for their agreement to exclusive use of Eaton transmissions.
The complaint alleges that once Eaton’s competition was eliminated, purchasers of Class 8 truck transmissions were then forced to pay “supracompetitive prices” for the transmissions.
James W. Parks, manager, business communications for Eaton, said in the preliminary stage of the litigation, U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson denied Eaton’s motion to dismiss the case.
“Now the case may proceed to the discovery phase and the plaintiffs must prove the merits of their case,” he said.
He noted that “much of the plaintiffs’ complaint is based on the ZF Meritor case, in which Judge Robinson recently rejected Meritor’s damages case in its entirety and entered a final judgment of $0 damages, which both sides are appealing.”
In response to the complaint, Parks said, “Eaton believes that it has, at all times, competed fairly and lawfully, and consistent with company policy, will not comment further on pending litigation.”
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