By Nora Naughton 

General Motors Co. has asked a federal judge to reconsider the tossing of a lawsuit it filed last fall against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, in GM's latest attempt at reviving an unusual legal battle between the two Detroit rivals.

In a new motion filed Monday in Detroit, GM said it had uncovered new evidence to further support its earlier claims that Fiat Chrysler was trying to weaken its larger competitor by bribing top officials with the United Auto Workers union.

Federal Judge Paul Borman last month dismissed GM's civil racketeering lawsuit, ruling the auto maker had failed to show it would have been a primary victim of any misconduct allegedly perpetrated by Fiat Chrysler executives.

GM's new motion not only claims it has new evidence to prove it was the victim of direct harm, but also for the first time names former UAW President Dennis Williams as a defendant.

Lawyers for Mr. Williams didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

Fiat Chrysler couldn't be immediately reached for comment. The company previously called GM's lawsuit meritless and said Mr. Borman's dismissal of the case vindicated its position.

GM's filing is the latest twist in an unprecedented legal tussle between two automotive rivals, which compete against each other in many categories, including profit-rich pickup trucks.

GM had previously based much of its case against Fiat Chrysler on evidence uncovered in a yearslong federal investigation into union corruption within the auto industry. The criminal probe, which first became public in 2017, has led to numerous convictions, including of a former top bargainer at Fiat Chrysler and several UAW top officials.

This latest filing, however, makes new allegations that haven't surfaced in court documents related to the ongoing federal investigation.

In its amended complaint, GM accuses Mr. Williams and Joe Ashton, a former UAW vice president, of taking payments in return for their participation in a larger plot by Fiat Chrysler to weaken GM and force a merger between the two companies.

GM had alleged in its original lawsuit that Sergio Marchionne, Fiat's chief executive at the time, had orchestrated a scheme that involved bribing UAW officials to gain lower labor costs and a competitive advantage over Fiat's rivals in union contracts.

GM publicly resisted the merger proposal in 2015. Mr. Marchionne died in 2018.

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 03, 2020 15:11 ET (19:11 GMT)

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