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First reported by 1/18/16

Appeals Court Rules Against Parts Lawsuit

A federal appeals court last week dealt what is likely the final blow to an antitrust case (originally filed in 2006) that alleged that State Farm, Geico, Allstate and Liberty Mutual conspired to use inferior crash parts (CRASH 9/3/12). The lawsuit claimed the insurers created a "sham organization" (CAPA, the Certified Automotive Parts Association, also a defendant in the case) and used other means to conspire to unfairly compete by specifying use of inferior non-OEM crash parts. A federal judge dismissed the suit in 2012, saying the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate an admissible method for determining which parts are inferior. The plaintiffs appealed, but a federal appeals court last week upheld the lower court's ruling, agreeing that there was a "complete lack of evidence on parts quality." The appeals court also supported the lower court's ruling that the plaintiffs shouldn't be allowed to file a sixth amended complaint that contained only price-fixing allegations, "a substantial change from the [previous versions of the lawsuit], which described a conspiracy focused on the use of unsafe, inferior parts."

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