A landmark racial bias case against Primus Financial Services Inc., a subsidiary of Ford Motor Co., is scheduled to go to a mediator July 19.
A federal judge in Nashville, Tenn., sent the case to mediation after she ruled against Primus in March. Judge Aleta Trauger sided with plaintiffs who alleged that Primus' practice of letting dealerships mark up wholesale interest rates on vehicle loans leads to higher finance charges for minority buyers.
Primus of Franklin, Tenn., can appeal the judge's ruling if it is dissatisfied with the results of mediation.
Edward Infante, a retired federal judge, will mediate the case. Infante has more than 25 years of experience in dispute resolution, according to JAMS, a mediation service.
Infante has mediated cases involving charges of racial bias and abusive lending, JAMS says. He is a former chief magistrate of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Several banks and automotive finance companies have settled similar lawsuits over vehicle lending by agreeing to limit markups from wholesale loan rates. The Primus lawsuit was the first to go to trial.