DAVENPORT, Iowa (May 8, 2001) -– A federal judge has denied Michelin North America Inc.'s request for a preliminary injunction against Bandag Inc. and Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. in its ongoing antitrust lawsuit against the two companies.
The Greenville, S.C.-based tire maker had asked Judge Charles Wolle of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa to block Bandag and BFS from jointly performing activities that allegedly prevent Michelin's growth in the retread market. The court denied Michelin's request for an injunction May 4. A Michelin spokeswoman said Michelin will continue its preparations for a January 2002 trial, but she declined to comment further.
The court had determined that Michelin had not adequately demonstrated a threat of irreparable harm to support a preliminary injunction. The court also had concluded that it was likely that Bandag and Bridgestone would encounter significant harm if the motion were granted because it would hinder free discussion and lawful cooperation and may detrimentally affect the companies´ customers.
"We are pleased with the court´s ruling, which we believe is fair and in the best interests of an open, competitive marketplace that benefits trucking customers," said Martin Carver, Bandag Chairman and CEO. "This decision means we can continue competing for business and supporting our network of Bandag franchised dealers."
The injunction request is part of litigation between the three companies that began in 1999 when Bandag charged Michelin with attempting to eliminate it as a retread competitor. Michelin countersued, claiming Bandag was engaged in monopolistic practices. In January, Michelin named Bridgestone/Firestone to the suit, alleging the Nashville, Tenn., tire maker and Bandag "conspired" to hinder Michelin's growth in the retread market by offering financial incentives to Bandag dealers who agreed not to adopt Michelin´s retread system.