General Motors CEO Mary Barra, left, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Mike Manley (Photo: Kathleen Galligan, Eric Seals, Detroit Free Press)

A federal court judge will now allow General Motors chief executive Mary Barra and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles chief executive officer Mike Manley to present lawyers during a court-ordered meeting so that they can resolve GM’s racketeering case against FCA. .

U.S. District Court Judge Paul Borman changed his order on Saturday to allow the two CEOs – Barra is also GM’s chairman – to have lawyers with them in both the private meeting he is requesting and in a video meeting to update the judge on their progress, which will take place by Wednesday. Borman noted that court rules prohibit “the admission of statements made during compromise negotiations”.

The judge’s modified order followed a GM petition Friday at the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeal seeking to reassign the case. The automaker argued that it would not have had a fair hearing before the judge in light of the comments in its initial order that the case was a “waste of time and resources” in light of the challenges the country faced with racism and COVID-19.

GM, in the lawsuit filed in November, claims that FCA cost him billions of dollars by corrupting the contractual bargaining process with the UAW in an attempt to force a merger between the two companies, a goal eventually unsuccessful of the late Sergio Marchionne, ex FCA CEO who has a leading role in the GM suit. FCA, which is working on the merger with Peugeot’s PSA group to create the world’s fourth largest automaker, said it “will continue to vigorously defend itself and pursue all available remedies in response to GM’s groundless cause.”

The lawsuit relates to the long-standing corruption scandal involving the UAW, which saw convictions against 14 former union officials and the FCA. Gary Jones, dishonored former UAW president, will be sentenced later this year. The bribery case, which has implications for the future of the 400,000-member union, involved widespread examples of self-employment, including bribery, bribes and wrong funds on golf, imaginative dinners and even pens with jewelry. The UAW, which has announced a series of reforms in light of the scandal is not a defendant in GM’s case, but Alphons Iacobelli, former chief labor negotiator for FCA, and two other former FCA officials join the FCA.

More: GM fights the order of the judge that Barra, Manley of FCA meet to resolve the racket case

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GM, although spokesman Jim Cain, made a new statement on Saturday following the judge’s order:

“Our petition identifies a number of problems that cause us great concern when we try to hold FCA and others accountable for their racketeering crimes and direct harm to GM.”

FCA spokesman Shawn Morgan addressed a reporter to the company’s previous statements saying that GM’s lawsuit is not worthy.

Contact Eric D. Lawrence: Follow him on Twitter: @_ericdlawrence.

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