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Press release from Business Wire

Hagens Berman Files Class Action Lawsuit on Behalf of Honda and Toyota Car Owners

Friday, October 07, 2011

Hagens Berman Files Class Action Lawsuit on Behalf of Honda and Toyota Car Owners13:51 EDT Friday, October 07, 2011 SEATTLE (Business Wire) -- Yesterday Hagens Berman filed a class action lawsuit on behalfofa group of Honda (NYSE: HMC) and Toyota (NYSE: TM) automobile owners against eight auto-part suppliers after the federal government released information detailing an international price-fixing scheme that may have cost American purchasers and lessees of a wide range of cars millions of dollars in the form of inflated car prices over a 10-year period. The defendants supply automotive wire harnesses and related products in a wide range of Japanese- and American-built cars. According to the complaint, the defendants collectively dominate the global automotive wire harness systems market. Wire harnesses are used to direct and control electronic components, wiring and circuit boards in cars. Among the defendants is Furukawa Electric (TYO: 5801) who was cited in an agreement announced last week in which three Furukawa Electric's executives agreed to plead guilty and pay a $200 million fine for the company's participation in the scheme, and three of its executives also agreed to serve prison terms ranging from a year to 18 months in U.S. prison for their role. “While the agreement with the federal government goes a long way to serve justice, it does nothing to remunerate the thousands of auto purchasers who appear to have overpaid for their vehicles,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, a consumer-rights law firm headquartered in Seattle. “We intend to remedy that economic injustice with this filing.” The vehicles purchased by plaintiffs during the class period include a 2009 Honda CRV, a 2005 Toyota Prius and a 2008 Toyota Camry. According to published documents, Furukawa employees Junichi Funo, Hirotsugu Nagata and Tetsuya Ukai – executives who held executive positions in Japan and in the United States - conspired to fix prices and agreed during meetings and conversations to allocate the supply of wire harnesses and other products on a model-by-model basis. The Justice Department states that the price-fixing scheme was in play from January 2000 until at least January 2010. Authorities from the U.S., the European Union and Japan have investigated a conspiracy in the market for automotive wire harness systems since Feb. 2010 or earlier. According to Berman, it's not clear which automobiles contain the harnesses, but it's possible that they are used by every major brand sold in the United States. “We don't yet know the scope and breadth of the impact of the price-fixing scheme on competitors, but we intend to find out through discovery,” Berman said. “It is safe to say, though, that there are thousands of Toyota and Honda owners who likely overpaid, thanks to the Furukawa Three and their conspiracy.” Hagens Berman is looking to speak with consumers who purchased new Honda or Toyota vehicles from January of 2000 to January of 2010 who may have paid more than necessary because of the artificially inflated cost of parts. The list of defendants also include Delphi Automotive, Lear Corporation, Leoni Ag, Sumitomo Electric Industries, S-Y Systems Technologies GMBH, Yazaki Corporation and Yazaki North America. Potential plaintiffs are invited to contact the firm by phone at 206-623-7292 or by email at Furukawa@hbsslaw.com. You can learn more about this case by visiting www.hbsslaw.com/Furukawa. About Hagens Berman Seattle-based Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP represents workers, whistleblowers, investors and consumers in complex litigation. The firm has offices in Boston, Chicago, Colorado Springs, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Founded in 1993, HBSS continues to successfully fight for investor rights in large, complex litigation. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Visit the firm's class-action law blog at www.classactionlawtoday.com. Firmani + Associates Inc.Mark Firmani, 206-443-9357mark@firmani.com