In November, Ford’s counsel brought a motion seeking sanctions against John Crane and its attorneys and plaintiff’s counsel. Ford alleges that John Crane has continuously cooperated with plaintiffs in remaining in cases as a “straw man” to prohibit removal to federal court. Genuine Parts Company joined in with the motion, but subsequently asked to withdraw the part of its motion seeking sanctions.
On December 4, 2015, Crane responded that Ford’s motion is nothing more than a “witch hunt” and that there is no agreement between Crane, plaintiffs, or plaintiffs’ attorneys on how case would be handled. Crane argued that it has no obligation to defend its cases in a manner that Ford sees fit, it prefers to litigate its cases in its home state of Illinois, and that Ford is not prevented from requesting the federal court to remove the case from Cook County. Crane also argued that it remains longer in litigation since it will not pay to settle on what they consider meritless cases. Crane objected to Ford’s request to uncover evidence to support its claim as such discovery would violate the attorney-client privilege and is not authorized by Rule 137, which is the judicial rule under which Ford bases its motion.