Sheehan & Associates, P.L.C.

Autoliv settles class action suits

Michigan readers may be interested in the antitrust lawsuit settlements between Autoliv, Inc. and three classes of customers. According to reports, Autoliv is the world's largest supplier of automotive safety equipment, and the company manufactures and develops safety systems for the world's largest car manufacturers. It employs more than 56,000 people in 80 facilities throughout the world, and the company's 21 test tracks at ten tech centers in nine countries are the most of any automobile safety business.

The three customer classes are consumers, auto dealers and direct purchasers. Autoliv agreed to pay $19 million to consumers, $6 million to auto dealers and $40 million to direct purchasers. The amount for direct purchasers is subject to adjustments that could bring it to as low as $24 million based on purchasers who may opt out of the settlement class. It is anticipated that Autoliv will record a $65 million expense in the second quarter 2014 books due to the settlement.

The settlements calls for the class members to release the company, officers, directors, employees and subsidiaries from claims in return for the payments. The agreements are also subject to court approval and other conditions.

Autoliv did not admit any responsibility or liability when it entered into the settlements. The purpose of the agreements is to avoid the risk and expense that further business litigation could bring. Sometimes, a business may decide that a well-constructed legal settlement is more beneficial to its future than a drawn-out legal battle, even if it requires millions of dollars in expenses. Consultation with a legal advisor may help a company understand the alternative options that are available.

Source: Fort Mill Times, "Autoliv Reaches Settlements in US Antitrust Class Actions", June 02, 2014

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