HIGH COURT REJECTS APPEAL BY MERCEDES

HIGH COURT REJECTS APPEAL BY MERCEDES

The Supreme Court on Monday let stand a decision generally barring foreign car manufacturers from forcing franchised U.S. dealers to buy replacement parts exclusively from them.

The court, without comment, rejected an appeal by Mercedes-Benz of North America Inc. that had been supported by other foreign and domestic carmakers.The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in September that Mercedes violated antitrust restrictions by requiring franchised dealers to use genuine Mercedes-Benz parts when servicing customers' cars.

The appeals court rejected Mercedes' argument that a 1936 Supreme Court ruling granted car manufacturers an exemption from antitrust enforcement for such arrangements.

The appeals court also ordered a new trial to determine how much money Mercedes must pay in damages to Metrix Warehouse Inc., an independent auto parts distributor.

A federal jury had ordered Mercedes to pay Metrix $7 million in damages.

A judge overturned the jury award on grounds some of the money Metrix claimed it lost may have been the result of lawful competition.