Bandag Inc. and Michelin North America Inc. recently dismissed some claims the companies have made against each in their ongoing retreading lawsuit.
Bandag is suing Michelin and its Michelin Retread Technologies Inc. (MRTI) subsidiary for allegedly attempting to eliminate Bandag as a competitor and for allegedly trying to usurp Bandag's dealer network. Michelin's countersuit claims Bandag has intentionally restrained competition in the retread systems market.
Michelin also had named Bridgestone/Firestone in its suit for allegedly conspiring with Bandag to prevent retreaders from adopting Michelin's retreading system.
According to Bandag's recent 10-K report, Bandag and Michelin have dismissed their Lanham Act claims against each other, and Bandag has dismissed its antitrust claims against Michelin. The firm's tortious interference claims against Michelin remain, a Bandag spokesman said.
The Lanham Act pertains to claims made in advertising, according to a Michelin spokeswoman. She said Michelin's challenges to Bandag's exclusive franchise agreements and to Bridgestone/Firestone still stand.
The trial is scheduled to begin May 6, the Bandag spokesman told Tire Business. He declined to comment on the specifics of the dismissed claims.
Meanwhile, Bridgestone/Firestone also has asked the judge to dismiss Michelin's antitrust claims against it and is awaiting a ruling, said Christine Karbowiak, BFS vice president of public affairs. ``We took the position that any alleged injuries suffered by Michelin are the result of normal competition for increased market share, and they're not injuries caused by any violation of federal laws governing competition,'' Ms. Karbowiak said.
The companies also are awaiting a ruling on where the trial will be held-in Davenport, Council Bluffs or Des Moines, Iowa, she said.
In addition, a new judge, James Gritzner, will preside over the trial.
Bandag said it estimates that expenses for the Michelin litigation in 2002 will range from $11 million to $13 million on a pre-tax basis, assuming the trial begins as scheduled in May. In 2001, Bandag spent $18.3 million on a pre-tax basis on the lawsuit, the company's 10-K report stated.