General Motors Co. won dismissal of a lawsuit in which Spyker NV alleged the U.S. automaker sought to drive the Dutch company’s Saab cars into bankruptcy by interfering with a transaction that would have saved it.
GM thwarted a transaction with Chinese investors “that would have permitted Saab to restructure and remain a solvent, going concern,” Spyker claimed in the lawsuit. Spyker was seeking $3 billion in compensatory damages and unspecified punitive damages, according to court filings.
GM sold Saab to Zeewolde, Netherlands-based Spyker in February 2010. GM lawyers said that the purchase agreement required Saab to get the U.S. company’s prior consent for financing and restructuring. The judge agreed with GM’s interpretation of the contract.
“The language is clear, unambiguous and absolute,” U.S. District Judge Gershwin A. Drain in Detroit said today at a hearing.
Drain rejected Spyker’s contention that General Motors disparaged Saab or intended to harm the company. GM’s statements “were not wrongful or made with malice,” Drain said. “They were not designed to intentionally inflict harm upon Saab.”
Drain will issue a written order in two weeks, Spyker said today in a statement. The company “will assess whether it shall exercise its right to appeal upon review” of the written order, according to the statement.
Dave Roman, a General Motors spokesman, said the company was pleased with the decision.
The case is Saab Automobile v. General Motors Co., 12-cv-13432, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan (Detroit).