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March 19, 2003

USA: DaimlerChrysler wants shareholder lawsuit thrown out after alleging plaintiff destroyed documents

DaimlerChrysler is asking a Delaware judge to dismiss several claims against the company in a shareholder lawsuit after documents related to the suit were destroyed, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

By bcusack

DaimlerChrysler is asking a Delaware judge to dismiss several claims against the company in a shareholder lawsuit after documents related to the suit were destroyed, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

The suit, brought by billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian and his firm, Tracinda Corp., claims Chrysler investors were defrauded by Daimler-Benz when Daimler claimed a deal between the two companies would be a “merger of equals,” Dow Jones said. Instead, the lawsuit claims, Daimler-Benz intended to take over the company, but by framing it as a merger of equals, Chrysler investors didn’t earn as much as they would have on the deal.

According to Dow Jones, the documents were destroyed five days before Tracinda filed its suit, according to a motion filed by DaimlerChrysler. The notes described meetings between Kerkorian and Chrysler Chief Executive Robert Eaton.

“It is unfathomable that in a time of heightened awareness about document preservation Tracinda would destroy key evidence in this case just as this litigation began,” a spokesman for DaimlerChrysler told Dow Jones.

Dow Jones said the trial is set to begin on May 19, but if the judge rules in favour of a summary judgment request filed by DaimlerChrysler in February, the case could be dismissed.

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