Piston Group, owned by former the Detroit Pistons star, sued the council in May to revive the certification. In June, the District Court decide filed a short lived restraining order that reinstated the certification whereas the court docket case proceeded.
That case is about for a jury trial later this yr.
In its countersuit, filed in Wayne County Circuit Court this month, MMSDC alleges Piston Group breached its contract with the group by submitting the unique lawsuit.
The Piston Group and the MMSDC declined to touch upon the countersuit.
By collaborating in the certification course of, the group agreed “to hold MMSDC free and harmless from any and all claims, demands, and damages whatsoever arising out of the presentation of this application and agrees to indemnify and hold MMSDC harmless for any and all liability in connection with the certification of the information contained in this application,” the lawsuit states.
Ax to grind?
The MMSDC additionally alleges Piston Group defamed the group and its CEO Marie Sourie-Robinson in its lawsuit and in the press and that has prompted monetary and status hurt.
In its authentic lawsuit, Piston Group alleges Robinson has an ax to grind with Piston Group, most notably being upset the corporate employed away then-council government Frank Ervin in 2018, who now serves as group vice chairman for presidency affairs for the provider. The lawsuit additionally alleges that Robinson threatened to decertify Piston on a number of events after Johnson declined to donate $300,000 to an MMSDC initiative and didn’t take part as a sponsor in the group’s golf outing fundraiser in 2019.
Piston Group, the most important Black-owned auto provider in the U.S., alleged that Robinson and the MMSDC have been “vindictive, willful, wanton or malicious” in their actions.
The MMSDC has denied the allegations.
The Piston Group and Johnson “made these false and defamatory statements in an attempt to bully the MMSDC into deeming them certified MBEs despite the fact that neither Vincent Johnson nor any other minority member is responsible for the day-to-day management of any of the Piston companies,” the lawsuit stated. “As a direct and proximate result of (the defendants) wrongful conduct, MMSDC has suffered substantial economic injury, loss of good will, loss of business opportunities, reputational harm and standing in the community.”
Piston Group has not but responded to the counterclaim in court docket.
The firm ranks No. 64 on the Automotive News listing of the highest 100 world suppliers with worldwide gross sales to automakers of $2.8 billion in 2020.
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