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Meritor Gets OK to Seek $2 Billion in Damages From Eaton

Meritor Inc., which won an antitrust case against rival Eaton Corp. in 2009 over marketing truck transmissions, got the go-ahead from a federal judge in Delaware to use expert testimony supporting a damage award that could come to more than $2 billion.

Eaton, which sought a last-minute ruling to exclude Meritor’s bid for enhanced “lost profit” damages, can’t have the testimony kept out so close to the week-long damages trial that begins June 23, U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson said in an opinion today.

Robinson said she would be in a better position to judge Eaton’s concerns about the value of the testimony during the trial.

A jury in the liability phase of the case ruled in 2009 that Eaton had damaged Meritor by offering “exclusive dealing contracts” and unfair rebates that thwarted competition in North America and gained Eaton 90 percent of the market.

Meritor is seeking more than $800 million in damage phase of the trial, which would automatically be tripled under antitrust law.

“Eaton has a policy of not commenting on continuing litigation,” said company spokesman Gary Klasen in Cleveland. Meritor spokeswoman Krista Sohm in Troy, Michigan, didn’t immediately reply to an e-mail seeking comment on the ruling.

The case is ZF Meritor LLC v. Eaton Corp., 06-cv-00623, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

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